Address to Yooralla’s DisabiliTEA
Federation Square, Melbourne
26 October 2012
E & OE
Well thank you Milly and can I echo what Jenny said about how wonderful Milly is. She is one of those people who I always feel exhausted after I spend some time with her because she is just ceaseless. Milly thank you for everything you do for people with disability and their families.
It is great to be here with my colleague Jenny Macklin and with the staff of Yooralla. Thank you so much Yooralla for hosting today and thank you everyone for coming along on a typically beautiful but cold Melbourne morning.
You may have noticed in Canberra we don’t always agree on everything. There is a bit of argy bargy from time to time. But one of the great things about politics in Canberra is that on a National Disability Insurance Scheme we are united. We stand as one. Government and Opposition recognise the time has come for an NDIS. It has to happen. It should happen. We want to make sure that it does happen.
We are gathered here in common purpose today because we all recognise that people with a disability and their families have had a raw deal for far too long. The NDIS is the answer to end the rationing, to end the waiting lists, to make sure that we put the individual at the centre and in charge. And for me, that is one of the most fundamental things about an NDIS – that the individual will be at the centre and in charge.
There is a task for everyone here today and that is to hold our collective feet to the fire – both Government and Opposition – to make sure that we follow through on the commitment. The billion dollars that was in the budget was a good thing and we all eagerly anticipate and look forward to further good news in the next budget.
For me, if you were designing what it is that should be the core business of government from scratch, one of the first things you would start with would be proper support for people with a disability. If government has any purpose, surely it should be providing assistance to people who face additional challenges for reasons beyond their control. I think government has got to get back to its core business. An NDIS is part of that. I look forward to working with the government and with you to see an NDIS become a reality as soon as possible.
Thanks very much.