Transcript by Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Doorstop, Launceston

Location: Carers Fair, City Park Launceston

E & OE


Can I just say how happy I am to have Minister Mitch Fifield here again in Tasmania, talking about ageing and health and carer issues – we’ve had a great visit this morning. But Carers Australia – who we’re supporting with the pollie pedal – they do wonderful work, and part of getting Mitch down here is to have a look at the carer infrastructure, to look at some of the things we might be able to do in a policy sense for what is after all one of the older demographics seats in Australia. So I’m really pleased to have the Minister here, looking at this most worthy cause. So without any further ado, Minister Fifield.


It’s great to be here with Andrew Nikolic, who is a terrific advocate for ageing Australians, for people with disability and for carers as well. We’re here today to take part in the Carer Fair, where there are a number of organisations who provide support for people with disability, to older Australians, and also to carers.

And importantly, we’re launching the advocacy provider finder, which is a web based tool on the Department of Social Services website, which will help people with disability and their families who need advocacy, to find the service that’s right for them, near where they live.

Individual advocacy is going to be even more important with the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Tasmania is a trial site for the NDIS – there are currently about 1,000 people in the Tasmanian trial site, and those are people who are now, as a result of the NDIS, getting the better deal that they deserve.

But it’s an important day to focus on carers, particularly with the pollie pedal underway, with the Prime Minister taking part in the terrific fundraising venture which this year, as with the previous couple of years, will be raising money to support Carers Australia.


How will the new online service work?


It’s a web-based tool where people can plug in their details of where they live, and the service will tell them what are the providers that are near them, but also importantly, the sort of service that’s right for the needs that they have. So it’s a great new tool. And as I say, with the NDIS, with people being in the centre and in control, and having an entitlement that they can direct to service provider of their choice – there are some people with disability who need a bit of assistance in making the right decisions for them. So this tool will help them find the advocacy services to do just that.


What kind of challenges do people face at the moment to find the right advocate?


I think at the moment part of the problem is that there’s no one-stop-shop, and the advocacy finder will help people navigate the system. And we know there’ll be a greater need for individual advocacy as a result of the NDIS. Previously, before the NDIS, there wasn’t the same degree of choice. When people have choice it means that there are decisions to be made, and there are some people, because of the nature of their disability, who need some assistance and some advocacy.
Thanks very much.