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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 13 May 2021) . . Page.. 1432 ..

This comes back fundamentally to a lack of empathy and compassion by the coalition government. The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has talked a number of times about the NDIS in relation to his brother-in-law Garry. Garry has multiple sclerosis. I have no doubt that this experience has influenced the Prime Minister’s view about the importance of support for people with disability. The problem with this approach is that Garry’s experience is not a typical experience of a person with a disability. There is no typical experience for a person with a disability. Some people are born with disability; some acquire disability as a child or as an adult. Some people acquire disability over the age of 65. I have been advocating for some time that the aged care system does not support people who acquire a disability over the age of 65 who are not eligible for the NDIS. There is a great inequity in that, and I raised it again with Minister Hunt at the recent health ministers meeting. Some people have cognitive disability; some have psychosocial disability; some have physical disability; some have sensory disability; some have a combination of these. Each person’s experience is unique, and each person needs to have that choice in control over the supports that are going to enable them to live an ordinary life.

That is why the recent changes Minister Davidson talked about, with independent assessments, are so concerning for people with disability—to have a person who has never met them before sit down with them for three hours and determine what supports they need to live an ordinary life rather than dealing with those who have worked with them for years, those who know them best, dealing with the people with disability themselves and their own family members.

It is really unfortunate that the Prime Minister can see the NDIS and appreciate its value only through the lens of Garry’s experience. But this is not surprising. He is the person who could only empathise with Brittany Higgins when his wife, Jenny, said that he needed to think about how he would feel if it was one of their girls who had had that experience.

There is a fundamental lack of empathy and compassion at the heart of the coalition government, and the changes they are proposing to the NDIS reflect that very sad situation.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Planning—age-friendly city plan

Ministerial statement

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Seniors, Veterans, Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health and Minister for Mental Health) (10.56): I am honoured to rise in this Assembly today to provide an update on work progressed under the age-friendly city plan to ensure older Canberrans are able to lead active, connected lives as valued and respected members of our community. The plan includes a commitment for an annual statement to be delivered in the Assembly on the progress of actions. This statement will provide an update for the period May to December 2020.

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