Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

A better start for children with disability on Brisbane’s westside

Joint Media Release with:

  • Grahm Perrett MP, Member for Moreton

A new Gillard Government early intervention program will give children with disability on Brisbane’s westside a better start to life, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Senator Jan McLucas and Member for Moreton Graham Perrett said today.

Meeting with staff, parents and children at Kids Matters Occupational Therapy in Sherwood today, Mr Perrett said the $147 million Better Start for Children with Disability initiative would be a big help for local families.

“We know that early intervention can make a big difference to the lives of children with disability. It better prepares them for school and helps them to achieve their potential,” he said.

Mr Perrett said parents needed to register for the early intervention initiative.

“Parents can receive up to $12,000 for early intervention services that they can choose themselves through Better Start,” he said.

“Every parent wants the best for their child however a big challenge for many local families is the cost of early intervention services. Better Start is making quality early intervention services and therapies more accessible.”

Senator McLucas said children who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and moderate or severe vision or hearing impairments including deaf and blindness, under the age of six years, will be eligible to receive support through Better Start.

“We want to see these children with disability get the best start to life,” Senator McLucas said.

“Eligible children will be able to access a range of early intervention service providers including occupational therapists, speech pathologists, audiologists, physiotherapists, orthotists and psychologists.”

Registrations for Better Start opened to families on 1 July.

Families can register through Carers Australia over the phone or in person at the Better Start Registration and Information Service based in every capital city and in regional centres across Australia.

For more information on Better Start, contact Carers Australia by phoning 1800 242 636 or the Office of Graham Perrett MP on 07 3344 2622.