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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 5 August 2021) . . Page.. 2412 ..

There are over 8,500 people under the NDIS scheme here in the ACT, and 449,998 people nationally. Supporting people with disability to have the care and support they need is vital, but so is finding ways to make this scheme more sustainable—not only financially sustainable but also seeking positive outcomes across areas such as housing, education and employment.

Whilst I am grateful that Ms Orr’s motion provides us with the opportunity to celebrate the NDIS, I do not see the value in grandstanding on issues which have already been agreed to and are being driven at the commonwealth level. I suggest that the ACT government should focus their energy on getting better outcomes at the local level. This includes more ACT funding for advocacy groups and for the many mainstream and community services that support people with disability. Recipients of NDIS programs need specialist help to navigate the range of services available. They need assistance from advocacy groups to ensure that the crossover from program funding to program delivery is efficient and accurately reflects their needs.

Perhaps Ms Orr should try to influence her own government to improve outcomes in the health system so that all Canberrans are supported to reach their full potential. There might be over 8,500 people covered by the NDIS in the ACT, but this does not mean that there are not many other people who do not qualify for the scheme but still require support. There are people that need health appointments with specialists in Canberra; reasonable adjustment so that they can participate in education or employment; better housing choices; early interventions; and community programs. There are so many areas where this government should focus on its performance and stop virtue signalling just for the sake of making noise.

In an earlier speech, I indicated that there are disability organisations in the ACT who have not received any funding increases for the last decade. These groups have had to cut down on their staffing, despite increasing demand for support services for our local community.

The ACT government are playing the blame game again and targeting the federal government to divert attention from their own shortcomings. Whilst all levels of government have a role, there is significant responsibility at the territory level to deliver services to our community, and I really do not think that this government is living up to that responsibility.

In conclusion, I request that the ACT government concentrate on areas of disability support at a local level, to make sure that the commonwealth-funded NDIS program is more successful for ACT residents.

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (4.08), in reply: I would like to thank Minister Davidson for her very good, constructive comments in the debate, and particularly in noting that the ACT government and all state and territory governments are in partnership with the federal government on the NDIS. As a partner of the NDIS, it has a large role to play, not only in contributing funds but also in representing the wishes of the people within ACT constituencies to make sure that the NDIS actually reflects the services and the needs of the people it represents.

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