Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

National Disability Insurance Scheme, Campbell Newman, Family Responsibilities Commission – Doorstop, Cairns

JOURNALIST: So Jenny, you’re in Cairns today to talk about this NDIS. What’s so important about coming to this region to discuss this issue?

JENNY MACKLIN: I am really pleased to be here in Cairns today with Senator Jan McLucas, the Parliamentary Secretary for Disability and Carers. And of course she’s doing a great job standing up for people with disabilities and for carers.

I’m here to talk with people about the National Disability Insurance Scheme, to really say how important it is to us that we deliver a National Disability Insurance Scheme, and we want to deliver it for the whole nation.

But it’s a shared responsibility between the Commonwealth and the states and so I’m saying to Premier Newman, you’ve really got to step up and make sure that you meet Queensland’s responsibilities to do your fair share to help people with disabilities and to help carers and their families.

JOURNALIST: So obviously we’ve got people in attendance today who have a disability.

What will you be telling them about the discussions that you’ve had or what future they’ve got of whether we will get this Insurance Scheme through?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well I’ll be listening to people and listening to their concerns but also letting people know where we’re up to.

We’ve put $1 billion towards the launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and now we have agreement with the New South Wales, South Australian, Tasmanian and ACT governments, and we’re still discussing matters with the Victorian Government. So I’d call on the Premier of Queensland to do the same as other state premiers are doing, do his bit, make his contribution to making sure that people with disability in Queensland can be part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

JOURNALIST: Is there still a prospect of a trial in Queensland – a launch site here – or will it now be a matter of focussing on the implementation of the national scheme when it takes effect?

JENNY MACKLIN: We can do both. We would like Queensland to be part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme launch sites and I’d say to Premier Newman, if he’s prepared to put his fair share of the cost on the table then the Commonwealth of course will talk about having a launch site here in Queensland.

We want to deliver a National Disability Insurance Scheme and that includes for Queenslanders.

JOURNALIST: In New South Wales and Victoria it seemed that the governments came on board as a result of some of the public pressure when they initially weren’t looking like they would. Is that now what you would like to see happen in Queensland? Is it going to be up to people in the community to pressure the Government into doing something?

JENNY MACKLIN: I think that’s right, that there was a very strong public reaction in both New South Wales and Victoria. People with disability and their carers have really found their voice. They want a National Disability Insurance Scheme and they want it to be here in Queensland as well as other parts of Australia.

JOURNALIST: Is there anything you’ll be telling the people in the room today that they should be doing to give that bit of a push and hopefully get the Government hearing their message?

JENNY MACKLIN: Continue to use your voice, continue to be part of the campaign, Every Australian Counts, to make sure the Queensland Government comes on board and does its fair share to deliver a National Disability Insurance Scheme here in Queensland.

JOURNALIST: What difference would it make to people with disabilities in Queensland if the Government did come on board?

JENNY MACKLIN: We know how important it is that we would have additional funding from the Queensland Government, additional funding from the Federal Government that would help people with disability; get the service that they need; help little children get access to early intervention; help parents make sure that they can get the respite that they need to; make sure that we can sit down and plan what people need, not just have a terrible, cruel lottery which is what happens at the moment.

It depends on where you live, how much support you get, and we think it’s time that to end that cruel lottery.

JOURNALIST: My understanding, and correct me if I’m wrong, is there’s still a little bit of uncertainty about the Family Responsibilities Commission in Queensland. The Federal Government, I think, is funding an extension of that but it’s unknown whether the State will. Is that a concern?

JENNY MACKLIN: It is a concern that Premier Newman has yet to indicate whether or not he intends to continue to financially support the Family Responsibilities Commission. It has been operating up here in the Cape and I certainly hope he will.

The Federal Government has put our money in the Budget and I certainly would like to see that continue. We are doing a big evaluation right now and we want to make sure that the Family Responsibilities Commission can continue while we consider the results of the evaluation.

JOURNALIST: And why is it so important that that continues? If it doesn’t, will it undo the work that’s been done under that program to date?

JENNY MACKLIN: I’ve recently met with people from the Family Responsibilities Commission in Aurukun and tomorrow I’m meeting again with people from Mossman Gorge. I’ve met with them previously.

They’ve certainly indicated to me how useful the Family Responsibilities Commission has been to get peoples’ lives back on track; make sure kids are going to school; make sure people get off the grog; make sure peoples’ rent is being paid.

So I think they’ve demonstrated that they’ve played a very useful role in these Aboriginal communities. So I call on Premier Newman to make sure that he makes the financial contribution towards the Family Responsibilities Commission that he should.