Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Young people with disability look to the future

Rugby league players, bongo and drum workshops and student volunteers with disability were all part of the 2011 Post School Options Expo held today in Cairns, aiming to help young people with disability transition from school to employment or study.

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, who attended the event, said the expo has provided valuable information on post school support services and programs to more than 200 young people with disability.

“It’s important to provide guidance to young people when they finish school, preparing them for the transition phase from school to employment, study or other community programs and services,” Senator McLucas said.

“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.”

“Leaving school and embarking on the next stage of life can be an overwhelming time but it is great to see so many young people here today excited about their future and exploring the various pathways and options that are available.”

“It’s also really positive to have a strong response from local disability service providers, schools and the broader community who are all here to provide support and guidance to our young people with disability, their families and carers.”

Organisations, including Endeavour Foundation, Leisure Connections, Vision Australia, Real Living Options, James Cook University and Queensland Apprenticeships Services were among more than 40 information stalls at the disability expo.

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.”

“And that’s what the National Disability Insurance Scheme is ultimately about – ensuring people with disability are supported to reach their potential.”

Last week, the Gillard Government and all state and territory governments agreed to lay the foundations for a National Disability Insurance Scheme by mid 2013 – a year ahead of the timetable set out by the Productivity Commission.

“It’s great to see the local community and many organisations here today at the expo getting behind a National Disability Insurance Scheme,” she said

“We need to act as quickly as possible to improve the lives of the millions of Australians affected by a disability.”