Aussie Paralympians take centre stage
Minister for Disability Reform Jenny Macklin, Minister for Sport Kate Lundy and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Jan McLucas today wish our 161-strong Australian Team all the best for a successful Paralympic Games in London.
Australians around the nation will be cheering on our Paralympians as they enter the stadium today to officially mark the start of the Games and take on the world.
The Olympics and Paralympics represent the pinnacle of sporting achievement and our athletes are ambassadors for the entire nation at the Games. They carry the hopes of the nation and all our Paralympians are beacons of inspiration.
For the next twelve days, the entire nation will be right behind our Paralympic Team willing them to do their best and reach their full potential.
Paralympic veteran, Greg Smith, will carry the Australian flag in the Athletes’ Parade and proudly lead our Australian Team which spans from our youngest athlete 13-year-old swimmer, Maddison Elliot, to our oldest team member 70-year-old shooter, Libby Kosmala.
Australians can be enormously proud of our nation’s Paralympians. We’ve sent a
strong team of 305 members including 161 athletes and 144 support staff which represents the largest Australian Paralympic Team in history. Half of our team will be competing at their first Paralympic Games and they will undoubtedly do Australia proud as they make their debut in London.
The London Paralympics will be larger than the 2008 Beijing Paralympics with over 4200 athletes competing in the Games from over 165 countries.
The Gillard Government is working towards a future where all Australian children and adults with disability lead lives of dignity and opportunity.
We are providing $1 billion to deliver the first stage of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to provide Australians with a disability the care and support they need, when they need it.
The Government is pleased to be able to contribute to ensuring the success of the Paralympics through financial and other practical assistance. The Gillard Government has provided strong funding to support our Paralympic Team, committing over $13.7 million in 2011-12 for the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) and $2.7 million in Direct Athlete Support (DAS) to help Australia’s Paralympic athletes reach their potential.