Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas and Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King today joined people with disability, their families and carers and local service providers at community forum hosted by Karden Disability Support Foundation and held at the Ballarat Art Gallery.
Ms King, who will also hold a National Disability Insurance Scheme Forum in Bacchus Marsh later in the day, said the forums provided an important opportunity for local people with disability, their families and carers to get involved in the design of the NDIS and to have their say.
“We know how important the National Disability Insurance Scheme is, not just for people with disability, their families and carers but for all Australians,” Ms King said.
“The NDIS will mean that all Australians will be assured that if they have or acquire a severe or permanent disability, or if they care for someone who has a severe or permanent disability that they will be able to access the support they need to participate fully in the community.”
Ms King said the forum was also an important opportunity for the local community to have their say about the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
“This is the second NDIS Forum I’ve held in Ballarat and it’s great to see so many locals coming back to find out more and to share their views on the NDIS.
“I’m working hard to ensure that people, with disability, their families and carers and the disability sector have the opportunity to participate in the design of the NDIS as we work towards the launch from mid-this year.”
Ms Tess Pearce who spoke at the forum said she was hopeful for an NDIS and the opportunities it offered.
“This is the first real opportunity to open up dialogue between people with disability and government and it is changing the face of Australia in recognising people with disability as valued contributing members of society,” Ms Pearce said.
Disability Service Providers also threw their support behind the reform.
CEO of Karden Disability Support Foundation, Karen McCraw, said KDSF is a strong supporters of the NDIS.
“The issues surrounding disability have primarily struggled to gain a mainstream political and community focus,” she said.
“As we move towards a future that hopefully includes an NDIS, KDSF sees that a turning point in disability rights and power is coming to people who live with a disability in Australia.
“With an NDIS in place, we hope that people with a disability will be able to live their dreams, both big and small.”
Senator McLucas said the National Disability Insurance Scheme will fundamentally change the way we support people with a disability, their families and carers.
“The Gillard Government knows that people with disability, their families and carers have waited too long for change,” Senator McLucas said.
“That’s why the Federal Labor Government is delivering $1 billion for the first stage of the NDIS.
“This year, the National Disability Insurance Scheme will become a reality for thousands of people with disability, their families and carers in select locations across the country.”
Under the NDIS, people with a disability will:
• work with local people to identify their plans and goals for the future;
• be assessed to receive individualised care and support packages;
• have decision-making power about their care and support, including choice of service provider;
• be assisted by local coordinators to help manage and deliver their support; and
• access a system they can easily navigate that links them to mainstream and community services.
Ms King said she would continue engaging people with disability, their families and carers and the disability sector in the local community.
“We know that Victorians are eager to see the National Disability Insurance Scheme get off the ground.”
“We are getting on with the job of building the NDIS and want to make sure that people with disability, their families and carers and the disability sector are included in that process so that we can build a sustainable system over time.”
“It’s clear from the representation we’ve had today that local people with disability, their families and carers and service providers support the National Disability Insurance Scheme,” Ms King said.
Senator McLucas said she will continue talking to the Victorian Government and the local community as we work towards the launch of a National Disability Insurance Scheme.