DisabilityCare Australia, Doorstop, Townsville
Subject: DisabilityCare Australia
JENNY MACKLIN: First of all I’d like to thank everybody at the Cerebral Palsy League here in Townsville for having us, and for all the wonderful work they do supporting families and children with cerebral palsy. They’ve been providing this care and support for such a long time, and to meet with the families here today, to hear about how important it is that we deliver DisabilityCare here in Queensland, and deliver it as soon as possible. That message has come through loud and clear today.
I’m very pleased to be here with the Labor candidate, Cathy O’Toole, and to know that she too is really campaigning hard to make sure that DisabilityCare is successfully introduced here in Queensland.
QUESTION: So this will give parents more choice when it comes, more choice and better care essentially?
JENNY MACKLIN: When DisabilityCare starts in Queensland in 2016 you’ll see parents get much more choice and control, people with disability getting much more choice and control over the care and support that they need. You’ll also see parents and people with a disability getting more of the care and support that they need. At the moment there just isn’t enough money being spent on the care that people with disability need. From the information that parents here today provided, there are so many areas where people need extra care and support.
QUESTION: It’s not starting until 2016, is there anything in plan in the interim?
JENNY MACKLIN: Well of course we’re starting in four different parts of Australia from the 1st of July this year, so in Newcastle, in Geelong, South Australia and Tasmania. We have now an agreement with the state government here in Queensland which we’re very pleased about, and there’ll be a lot of preparatory work done which is necessary. And of course the people here in Queensland will learn a lot from the launch sites in other parts of Australia.
QUESTION: You’ve been going around to different places around Australia meeting with families and disabled people, do you think the reaction you’re getting from people in Queensland is maybe more emotional considering it took us so long to sign up to the plan?
JENNY MACKLIN: I think the response here in Queensland is very emotional. I think you’re very right about that. People are desperate. As you can hear from the families who spoke with us today, people are desperate for additional care and support. Whether it’s for children with autism, whether it’s for children with cerebral palsy. People are very pleased about the extra support the Commonwealth Government has provided for little children with cerebral palsy or with autism. But they know that they need more than that. And that’s why we have been determined to introduce DisabilityCare Australia. We are now very pleased that the Queensland Government has decided to sign up and join us on this huge reform.
QUESTION: Speaking to the parents here today, what are some of the big concerns that they’re talking to you about?
JENNY MACKLIN: The concerns are just so wide-ranging, but you heard from the parents of children with autism for example, that they don’t get enough support for children that are at different points in the autism spectrum. There are people who are of course not getting the equipment that they need. There are parents that I speak to whose children are going from school into adulthood, and of course parents are understandably very anxious about what will happen to their young person when that big change takes place. So all of these issues are issues that DisabilityCare will address.
QUESTION: In terms of the timeframe for Townsville, is it definite that it’s 2016 or is it going to be staged across the coming years?
JENNY MACKLIN: We’ll have an introduction in Queensland that will start in 2016, and of course we’ve only just signed the agreement with the Queensland Government, so we’ll now work on the transition plan with the Queensland Government. Of course that will be very clear to everybody once we get all that finalised. We’ve only just started?
QUESTION: So just to clarify this, no time frame?
JENNY MACKLIN: We’re still working on it.
QUESTION: Just on another issue, the Townville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service, they’ve been handed control of a substance abuse program on Palm Island. This is going on while they’re still under investigation for financial mismanagement. Do you think (inaudible) good idea?
JENNY MACKLIN: Well I’m not aware of the circumstances and as you’d be aware it’s not in my portfolio. It’s in the Department of Health, but I’m happy to follow up the issue for you.