Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week commences tomorrow across the country (30 July – 5 August), an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of people with cerebral palsy and to promote a more inclusive community for people with disability including cerebral palsy.

Attending the Cerebral Palsy League’s ‘Picnic in the Park’ event in Brisbane today, the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas said events and activities were occurring across Australia to recognise the week long annual celebration.

“This week is a chance to create greater awareness and understanding of cerebral palsy and work together to promote acceptance of people with cerebral palsy within our communities,” Senator McLucas said.

“It is also a chance to acknowledge the important and valued work that organisations like the Cerebral Palsy League has been providing in our community for more than 60 years.

“Our government shares its view that everyone has the same right to a fulfilling life.

“In particular, we know that effective early intervention for children with disability is vital to help us achieve this.

“That is why the Australian Government is providing $147 million under the Better Start for Children with Disability initiative to improve access to early intervention services and therapies.

“Families can receive up to $12,000 for early intervention services and therapies through Better Start including speech pathology, audiology, occupational therapy and optometry.

“Children who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, and moderate or severe vision or hearing impairments including deafblindness, under the age of six years, are eligible,” Senator McLucas said.

Since Better Start began just over a year ago, nearly 4,500 eligible children have registered under the initiative.

Senator McLucas said the Government would continue to focus on supporting these children and families in the early years as it works to build a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“A National Disability Insurance Scheme would really focus on making sure early intervention services are available to families when they need them, so our children start on the right foot,” Senator McLucas said.

The Gillard Government is delivering $1 billion for the first stage of an National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“An NDIS will mean that people with disability, wherever they are, have more control and choice over the care and support they receive.

“We’re determined that they will be able to access care that meets their needs – not just whatever is available – to help them participate in school, work and the community to their full potential.”