Speech by The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP

Celebrating DisabilityCare Australia – Novita Children’s Services

Location: Adelaide

Thank you Leigh.

Good morning everyone.

I would like to acknowledge, first, the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and pay my respects to their elders past and present.

I would also like to acknowledge may parliamentary colleagues- the Hon Tony Piccolo Minister for Disabilities representing the Premier, the Hon Duncan McFetridge Shadow Minister for Disabilities, the Hon Kelly Vincent MLC Dignity for Disability, Glenn Rappensberg Chief Executive of Novita Children’s Services, and all the families and friends of Novita on this really special day to celebrate.

I would like to thank Novita Children’s Services for the opportunity to be here today and to join in the celebrations- I know that Novita provides critical child development, early intervention, rehabilitation and therapy services to thousands of children around South Australia and I would like acknowledge the good work that they do. I have to say, Glenn, as soon as I was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers he had me down here looking at the wonderful services provided, but it was to also a pleasure to meet so many staff that are working in this area and have such a passion for it.

Now, it is an exciting day for celebration and I know that many of you have waited a long time for this day. I would like to take the opportunity as Glenn did mention to thank all those activists, all those parents and families and people with a disability who have fought hard to actually see this day become a reality. I was speaking to David Holst before, and we were saying can we believe we’ve actually made it to this day because without the advocacy and without all the people in the disability areas actually advocating for this day I don’t think we would have seen it. So your work has paid off, and it has become a reality today with DisabilityCare Australia.

Today marks the beginning of a great journey towards a better life of dignity for people with disability across Australia. It is a momentous day. Today, DisabilityCare Australia is a reality.

Here in South Australia children with disability will be the priority. As many of you would know, from today parents of newborns to five-year-olds who are accessing existing disability services will start moving into the scheme. Those who are not accessing specialist disability supports can contact the scheme at any time and staff at the DisabilityCare Australia shopfronts are ready to assist people through the process.

The staff at DisabilityCare Australia shopfronts such as the St Mary’s and Elizabeth offices here in South Australia will work directly with people with a disability to develop their individual plans to meet their individual needs and, most importantly, to attain their goals and aspirations.

By July 2014, access to the scheme will be extended to children aged up to 13 years, and by July 2015 to children aged 14 years, to benefit about 5,000 children with disability, their families and carers across our state.

We will then start working towards the full roll-out of the scheme where all eligible South Australians by July 2018, about 33,000 South Australians with disability, will be part of the scheme.

DisabilityCare Australia is now a reality today also in Geelong and the Barwon area in Victoria, Newcastle and the Hunter area in New South Wales, and in Tasmania.

From this beginning, we will build DisabilityCare Australia, until by 2019 it will provide support to around 460,000 Australians with significant and permanent disability.

I think the critical part of DisabilityCare Australia is the importance of it ending the cruel lottery that currently exists, where the care and support a person receives depends on where they live and how they acquired their disability.

This is a fundamental reform that will replace a broken and inadequate system that has failed people with disability, their families and their carers for too long.

I’ve always really thought this was the critical change- choice and control over support is now passed over to people with disability, their families and carers which is critical to ensure that people with disability do feel empowered and are at the centre of our disability system.

I would like to again thank Novita for having us here today. I’d also like to acknowledge the role of the State Government in this, the South Australian State Government jumped on board very quickly to commit to a launch site here in South Australia and then also jumped very quickly- one of the first- to jump on board for the full roll-out of the scheme, and that momentum the South Australian Government provided helped us to build momentum right around the country and now we have the majority of Australia covered and transitioning to DisabilityCare Australia and so I would like to thank, on behalf of the Federal Government, the South Australian Government for their commitment to this scheme.

It is a day to celebrate, we’ve got a lot of work to do as we roll out the scheme, but I would like to congratulate everyone that has worked hard to make this a reality. It’s worth a pause for celebration, and then we’ll be getting on with the job of providing excellent support and excellent services for those with disability, their families and carers.

Thank you for having me today.