Speech by The Hon Jane Prentice MP

ABLE XSeries Launch


Thank you, Professor Wright, for your warm welcome to the University of Queensland.

I acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet, the Turrbal people, and pay my respects to their Elders – past and present.

The University of Queensland has been the focal point of the federal electoral division of Ryan for three quarters of a century and I am delighted to be here yet again – on this occasion to launch the ABLE XSeries.

This innovative course is an excellent opportunity for health professionals, service providers, policy makers and those working in the healthcare sector to hear from people with intellectual disability experts from around the world.

According to the OECD, in 2010, 45 percent of Australians with a disability were living at or below the poverty line and the overall health of people with disability in Australia was, and still is, much worse than that of the general population.

To better meet the health needs of people with intellectual disability and help them out of poverty, we need to improve the quality, range and integration of services.

While much of this work will be undertaken in the healthcare system, the National Disability Insurance Scheme has an important role to play, especially since health and wellbeing is a key measure of the Scheme’s success.

The NDIS is one of the most significant economic and social reforms of the last 40 years.

It is the largest reform in disability services in Australia’s history and it is set to make our country more prosperous, more equitable and more accessible.

The NDIS takes a whole of life approach to providing individualised and flexible support to people with permanent and significant disability that affects their ability to undertake everyday activities. The NDIS is empowering people with disability to engage as equal partners in decisions that affect their lives.

Under the NDIS people can develop their own personal support plan with their NDIS planner, based on their individual goals and aspirations, and their individual needs.

This includes having choice over types of support they want, how these are delivered and the service provider that will deliver them. I am happy to say that the NDIS rollout is on time and on budget. Make no mistake, delivering the NDIS is a mammoth undertaking. It is an investment amounting to $22 billion and it is an investment in the future. That is why we are taking a staged approach so we can learn as we build the NDIS and continually improve the scheme each and every year.

The NDIS has already commenced in trial sites across the country, including three early transition locations in north Queensland.

So far, more than 22,000 people with disability have approved plans. By 2019 that figure is expected to have grown to 460,000.

Thousands of people with intellectual disability are already benefiting from supports that build social and economic independence, such as daily planning and budgeting, personal care and training, and employment preparation.

Given a large percentage of NDIS participants have intellectual disability, it is crucial that their needs are the central consideration in delivery of the NDIS. That is exactly what is happening.

In the same way the ABLE XSeries will draw on the wisdom of people with intellectual disability, their families and supporters, clinicians and other global experts to empower them, their families and health professionals, and educate the wider community.

The ABLE XSeries course is well aligned with the core principles of the NDIS which puts people with disability at the centre of decision-making, ensuring they have choice and control over their own supports.

Through the promotion of best practice this course will extend knowledge on how to improve health outcomes for people with intellectual disability.

I congratulate all associated with the project, particularly the University’s Centre for Intellectual and Development Disability.

I am looking forward to hearing people with intellectual disability and their families tell their stories, so we can all gain greater insight into their perspective, abilities and the everyday challenges they face.

It is my privilege and pleasure to launch the ABLE XSeries and I look forward to it fulfilling the expectations of all associated with it.