Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Experts discuss education reform for children with disability

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator Jacinta Collins, Parliamentary Secretary for School Education

A group of experts from the education and disability sectors today attended a leadership summit to discuss education reform for children with disability.

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas and Parliamentary Secretary for School Education, Senator Jacinta Collins said the Children with Disabilities Australia Summit explored solutions to the way children with disability receive education.

“It’s important that we are aware of the key issues and challenges that children with disability face at school,” Senator Collins said.

“This summit has provided valuable insight into the work that needs to be done to further improve education practice and policy to make sure children with disability have the same education opportunities as other children.”

Senator McLucas said the Gillard Government is helping to support children with disability to get the best start to life.

“Our government is delivering early intervention initiatives including Better Start for Children with Disability and Helping Children with Autism but we know that there is a long way to go in improving the way support services and care, including education, are delivered in Australia to people with disability,” Senator McLucas said.

“That is why the Government has announced a $1 billion investment over four years to start rolling out the first stage of a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“This scheme is a fundamental change to how we deliver disability care and support and will change the lives of so many Australians with disability as well as their families and carers.

“This funding will see an NDIS start in the middle of next year for about 10,000 people with significant and permanent disability across the country. This will increase to 20,000 by mid-2014.

Senator Collins highlighted how the education sector is working hard to help break the barriers faced by children with disability at school.

“Aligned with the Review of Funding for Schooling, the Government is working with states and territories and key stakeholders to take the next steps towards future funding arrangements for students with disability,” Senator Collins said.

“A forum like today’s provides a valuable opportunity for discussion between those of us involved in, and aiming to, make a better education system for all students including those with disability.

“The Government isn’t just waiting until a new funding model is developed. We are taking action now through measures, including the $200 million More Support for Students with Disability (MSSD) initiative.

“The MSSD program is helping schools deliver coordinated health services, such as occupational therapy, and assistive technology to support students’ learning in the classroom.”

Senator McLucas and Senator Collins both congratulated Children with Disability Australia on their efforts.

“CDA represents children with disability aged up to 25 and their families, and their strong membership base of 5000 is testament to their commitment to fairness, equal opportunity, participation in the community, and best practice in service delivery,” Senator McLucas said.

“This organisation, like the Government, recognises that improving the education opportunities for people with disability also helps us to be a more productive and inclusive society,” Senator Collins said.