Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

National Week of Deaf People 2011

A week long national celebration of Deaf people and the Deaf Australian community is underway across the country.

National Week of Deaf People (15 – 21 October 2011) is an opportunity for the Deaf to celebrate their language, community, culture, history and achievements and encourage broadening awareness in the wider community.

Australia has strong representation in the global Deaf community with Mr Colin Allen recently appointed as President of the World Federation of the Deaf.

During National Week of Deaf People, the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Jan McLucas, is encouraging parents of young hearing impaired children to sign up for new Australian Government early intervention services.

“Families can receive up to $12,000 in services such as speech pathology, audiology and Auslan lessons for hearing impaired children through the Better Start for Children with Disability initiative,” Senator McLucas said.

The Gillard Government’s $147 million Better Start for Children with Disability initiative commenced on July 1 this year.

It gives children up to the age of seven years who have been diagnosed with moderate or greater vision or hearing impairment including deafblindness, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome or Fragile X syndrome, access to up to $12,000 – a maximum of $6,000 in any one financial year – in flexible early intervention funding.

“We know that investing in early intervention for children with disabilities before they get to school gives them the best chance of reaching their full potential,” Senator McLucas said.

“That’s why it’s so important that deaf or hearing impaired children have access to these services as early as possible. We want to give all children the best possible start in life.”

Better Start also provides additional support for families living in outer regional or remote areas through a one-off payment of $2,000 that helps families meet the costs of accessing services, such as travel and home visits.

Senator McLucas said Better Start for Children With Disability gives parents choice about the early intervention services they access to support their children’s development.

“The Productivity Commission has identified that giving people more choice about the services they receive would be an essential feature of a National Disability Insurance Scheme,” she said.

Families can register for Better Start or obtain further information by calling Carers Australia 1800 242 636 or downloading an information brochure from

To learn more about National Week of Deaf People or to find an event, visit Deaf Australia’s website information