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NDIS: Disability activist Stella Young on why. . .

NDIS: Disability activist Stella Young on why it’s urgent and must be done well

Published on the VCOSS Voice on 11 May 2012.

It’s been a big few weeks for the national disability insurance scheme (NDIS), with the Federal Government announcing its early rollout of the scheme, rallies across Australia, and funding set aside in Tuesday’s federal budget to launch a year ahead of schedule.

The NDIS promises to be the biggest change in decades to Australian social policy and generational change for the way we support people with disabilities. It is critical to the lives of hundreds of thousands of Australians with disabilities and their families and carers, and has the potential to significantly influence other areas of social policy. Therefore we need to make sure it’s done well, with adequate funding and adequate consultation with people with disabilities and the sectors that support them.

Victoria has a high chance of hosting one of the NDIS launches, with the State Government putting aside funds towards this in last week’s state budget. VCOSS very much welcomes the commitment and believes Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge’s efforts towards Victoria playing a key role are to be commended.

Disability activist, comedian and writer Stella Young laid out the urgency for change and the need to get it right in her powerful piece on the ABC’s Ramp Up after the Melbourne rally.

Here’s a taste:

I was lucky enough to speak at Melbourne’s rally at Federation Square, and the sight from the stage was one to behold. People had made banners and signs. Parents had given their children the day off school to wave their hand-painted placards in support of their future, and that of their siblings. There wasn’t a mobility aid in sight that didn’t have a sign attached to it.

What really struck me about what I saw on Monday was not just the huge number of people who were there – friends, advocates, allies – but those who weren’t. I couldn’t help but think of those who wanted to join us but for whom the barriers to be there were just too big.

Those who are stuck at home with inadequate wheelchairs and equipment, or perhaps no equipment at all.

Those people who, like over half of Australians living with disability, are living near or below the poverty line and simply can’t afford a trip to the city.

Those 7,500 young people who are living in aged care facilities across Australia, because they don’t have the support to live anywhere else.

Read her full blog here: NDIS is important, let’s take the time to get it right

More reading or links:

Every Australian Counts campaign; NDIS: Budget makes it real

Productivity Commission report (August 2011) into disability care and support

ACOSS welcomes NDIS announcement as long overdue

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