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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 6 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 1775..


Therapy ACT provides services to many people with developmental delays and disability each year. Of necessity, these services are time limited and rationed so that as many people as possible can have some level of access to the service.

Despite the highly valued work of Therapy ACT, people with disability are not always able to access the services they need or, indeed, the services they want. Families want to have the right frequency and intensity of service for their child so that they can meet their early intervention goals.

In providing a trial site for all residents to the NDIS from July 2014, the ACT government has acknowledged the need for greater choice and control for all people with disability. Individuals and families who live the experience of disability know best what they need, when they need it and how they wish to access services.

By gradually withdrawing from providing government therapy and early intervention services, the ACT government means to create the room for the non-government sector to expand and deliver the choice of service provision to people with disability that the NDIS promises.

The ACT government understands that early intervention for children is the most effective way to support children, providing the best possible outcomes. This philosophy is supported by the NDIS, and children with developmental delay and disability will have the opportunity to discuss their early intervention needs with planners from the National Disability Insurance Agency and put in place the services that best suit them and their family.

While we acknowledge that families who have valued the early intervention programs provided and the staff who have delivered the programs, this is an exciting opportunity to expand the impact and effectiveness of early intervention. There has never before been such a large investment into the areas of early intervention and therapy services, which means successful elements of current programs and more will be available in the new programs.

Families rightly want to have choice and control of the services they access for their family members with a disability. This is the key principle of the NDIS, and we understand that system reform will be needed to deliver this new response.

The flexibility of the NDIS presents a significant change for all of us, but in embracing this change the government is committed to making a service system for children and families who need the best services so that they can enjoy life's opportunities.

MR WALL (Brindabella) (4.47): An experience the Chief Minister shared with us is an appropriate story to reflect on—the opportunity she had over an extended period of time to walk with a young man down the path at the Bruce Hostel to build the familiarity and the confidence required within this individual to cope with the change he was about to face. Time is the essence of that anecdote, and it is time many of these families are not going to necessarily have to prepare their children to move into the future.


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