Page 1437 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 3 May 2016

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Canberra is a city full of opportunities, yet we see that many people with a disability do not enjoy the full benefits that this city has to offer, especially when it comes to accessing affordable housing and home ownership. We know that there are points of evidence outlined in the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into disability care and support that show unacceptable inequality for those with a disability. That is something that I cannot accept or tolerate and I will do all I can to change it. It is something that this government does not stand for or accept, and we will continue to work with our community to improve outcomes for people with a disability.

I have been involved in project independence since its beginning. It will strive to address housing issues through campaigns designed to change attitudes towards those with a disability and provide equity for those people, allowing them to live independently with the support of the community.

I would like to put on record and extend my gratitude to the ACT Australian of the Year, Mr Glenn Keys, and the project independence board for their contribution in making this possible for Canberra.

I would also like to make note of another fantastic initiative in Canberra, the Ricky Stuart Foundation, and the building of the Ricky Stuart respite home. Again, it is a project that I was fortunate enough to be involved in from its very beginning. The Ricky Stuart house caters for young children with a disability, including autism. The first Ricky Stuart house at Chifley is the first of many planned respite centres across Canberra built by the Ricky Stuart Foundation.

The centre at Chifley is a state-of-the-art facility that comprises six bedrooms with two wheelchair access and modified bathrooms to help young children with physical disability. There is a kitchen, a dining room, a sensory room and absolutely fabulous playrooms. If people in this place have not visited, I encourage you to go along and see what the Ricky Stuart Foundation has put there.

The respite centres aim to provide a caring and comfortable environment where carers are allowed to enjoy a short-term break to recharge. They also provide a great environment for the children, allowing them to spend time with other children and to socialise in a wonderful new environment. This is a great initiative, and I would like to extend my gratitude to Ricky Stuart, his family, his daughter Emma, and the Ricky Stuart Foundation supporters for what they have done in this community for children with a disability, their families and their carers.

Support for these initiatives is an example of the government’s commitment to disability inclusion, and I will continue to emphasise this commitment for the ACT as we move through to the future. There is much more work to do, but those two great initiatives—the Ricky Stuart house and project independence—are grand additions to our society.

Dr John Kaye

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.26): It is with great sadness that I rise today on behalf of all ACT Greens to mark the overnight death of my New South Wales Greens

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