Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Young people working towards a bright future

Young people with disability in Far North Queensland explored career, training and lifestyle options at an expo in Cairns today.

Attending the 2012 Post School Expo, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers and Queensland Senator Jan McLucas said it was a great chance for young people with disability, their families and carers to learn more about the opportunities open to them after leaving school.

“Finishing school can be an overwhelming time for young people. They’re thinking about possible careers, about whether they want go to university or TAFE or perhaps take a gap year,” Senator McLucas said.

“This expo provides valuable information on post school options across employment, education and training, leisure and recreation, accommodation and advocacy support.”

“It is great to see so many young people here today excited about their future, preparing for this next big step in their lives and exploring the various pathways and options that are available.”

“The expo has also provided families and carers with insight and reassurance that their children will have access to the support and care needed to move forward after school.”

More than 45 training, employment, recreation and support services were on hand to answer questions, including Direct Employment Service, Ostara Employment, National Disability Coordination Officer Program, James Cook University, Tropical North Institute of TAFE, Skills 360 and Rights in Action.

“Young people tried their hand at bricklaying and beauty therapy, took part in art, drumming, dance and drama workshops, and the ever popular assistance dogs also performed a few tricks.”

Award winning musician, athlete, and remedial massage therapist, Lorin Nicholson, who was declared legally blind at the age of four also shared his stories of overcoming hardship to achieve success.

Senator McLucas said it is important that every Australian has the confidence to participate in work and social activities and are provided with the right support to reach their full potential.

“We want every Australian, including people with disability, to achieve their best in life, to develop skills and gain experience, and to have the confidence to dream big and believe in themselves,” Senator McLucas said.

“That is why we are building a National Disability Insurance Scheme.”

The Gillard Government is delivering $1 billion for the first stage of an NDIS from mid-2013 – a year ahead of the timetable set out by the Productivity Commission.

The first stage will start in the Hunter in NSW, the Barwon area of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT.

“It is clear many of the local organisations here today at the expo recognise the importance of an NDIS to Queenslanders.”

“An NDIS will make sure Australians with disability get the care and support they need, no matter where they live or how they acquired their disability,” Senator McLucas said.