Speech by The Hon Jane Prentice MP

Launch of National Disability and Carers Advisory Council


Ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to be here today to launch the National Disability and Carers Advisory Council.

This council has been formed by DRC—the Disability Reform Council—which is a sub branch of COAG, chaired by Minister Porter. DRC consists of State Ministers from every State and Territory.

The reason we have decided to form this Council is that the NDIS is currently focusing on the 460,000 most significant and permanently disabled people in Australia and they are getting some wonderful support through the NDIS rollout. But there are still 4.2 million people in Australia living with disability and we must continue to ensure that they get the support and services that they need and we don’t let them fall through the cracks.

So what the DRC has decided is that we will ask the Council members to reinvigorate the National Disability Strategy. Now as we know that was launched in 2010 as a ten year plan. The first implementation has gone through and the second one is happening as we speak.

This Advisory Council will support those areas that need more attention in the disability sector. That is why we have such great members on this Council and I am delighted to be joined by Jessica May and Wilhelm Harnisch today. We have representatives from every state in Australia and the disability sector, the carers sector and business, because working together we can do better for disability in Australia.

There are sixteen members from every State and Territory in Australia, representing business, representing disability and carers. The Co-Chair with me will be Keran Howe and Keran of course is well known to all of you as a strong advocate in the disability sector. She had hoped to be here today with Jessica and Wilhelm, but the vagaries of air travel as they are—I think she’s still circling Canberra. She will be here later today.

Ladies and gentlemen we are looking forward to working with the Advisory Council. We expect them to establish working groups to address key areas and of course they can bring in expert advice if they need it in those areas. We know we can do better for those with disability in Australia.