Page 713 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 26 February 2013
disability system here. We have come a long way. We have invested heavily in the disability sector to make sure that we are going much further in meeting people’s needs, but there are still areas of pressure. There will be areas of pressure under the NDIS—I am not going to pretend that it is going to be the ideal system for everybody—but we have to measure the justness of our society by how we look after those that need an extra hand.
You and I sitting in this place are only a burst blood vessel away from needing a scheme like the NDIS to care for us should we require it. It is incumbent upon us to lead the way, to be at the table, to make the budget allocations where we need to, to make sure that we are meeting the needs of people with a disability, their families and their carers.
I look forward to being a part of the work that will shape the system. I acknowledge the work of my ministerial colleague, in many ways leading the country, sitting around the table and not saying how this is not going to work but actually asking how this is going to work and saying let us be a part of the decision-making that gets it in place.
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.35): I would like to put some comments on the record; I have done so previously in the media but not, at this stage, in this place.
The opposition will be providing bipartisan support for the NDIS. It is an important initiative. It does provide an opportunity to break the cycle and to empower individuals—provide individuals with disabilities and their carers with increased choice and empowerment, which is so important. It does actually match a Liberal philosophy, which is both enabling the individual and also caring for those in our society who most need our care. That is a very important thing to do.
I would like to indicate that we will happily work with the government to make this scheme work. We do not want to see this fail; we want to see that it lives up to its potential. But, as is often the case with some of these schemes, the grand rhetoric around things like NDIS is the easy bit; the difficult bit will be the delivery on the ground—to provide the funding for it and to make sure that, when there are winners, we do not end up with a situation where there are losers also.
It does provide an opportunity; we offer our bipartisan support for this. But that does not mean to say that we will necessarily agree with everything the government does in relation to the NDIS. It remains our role to make sure that, as the NDIS gets rolled out, it is done in an effective and efficient manner. If, in our view, it is not living up to the expectations, we will have no hesitation in saying so. That will not be with a view to scoring political points or providing an alternative program; it will simply be a matter of making sure that the promise is matched by the reality on the ground.
All of us as MLAs will have come into contact with either people who are profoundly disabled or, as the Chief Minister said, the carers of those individuals. Many people find that when their children leave school they cannot find post-school options. As the Chief Minister said, many people who are elderly and who are caring for a disabled