Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Adelaide roundtable hears concerns of people with disability

Joint Media Release with:

  • Mr Steve Georganas MP, Member for Hindmarsh

The Rudd Government would continue to work for better services for people with disability and to ensure they got fair treatment in the workplace and the community, the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Bill Shorten said today.

Mr Shorten spoke at a disability forum in Glenelg, in Adelaide, hosted by the Member for Hindmarsh, Steve Georganas.

The roundtable allowed people with disability, their parents and carers, and disability organisations to voice their concerns and ideas and be heard by Federal politicians.

Mr Shorten said that there were still many improvements that needed to be made to disability services, and that many people with disability were still being treated as second-class citizens.

‘People with disability encounter barriers every day when they try to access community facilities, get an education or find work,’ Mr Shorten said.

Today’s roundtable focussed on the experiences for people with disability or chronic illness, and their families and carers, in Adelaide.

‘Listening to people with disability, and their families and carers, lets me hear first-hand what issues are important and where we need to do more,’ Mr Shorten said.

‘Steve Georganas has a real interest in working out how we can improve the lives of people with disability, and has done a great job in getting this forum together.

Mr Shorten said the Rudd Government had increased funding to the States for disability services, and was developing a National Disability Strategy to be released later this year.

He said the Productivity Commission had formally begun its study into a national insurance scheme for people with disability.

‘An insurance scheme has wide support amongst disability groups, and huge potential to deliver better services, but it is a complex idea that will require rigorous analysis before it can be implemented,’ Mr Shorten said.

‘I would urge all people interested in an insurance scheme, or who have views on how we best tackle the challenges of disability in this country, to make a submission to the Productivity Commission.’

Mr Georganas said that people with disabilities living in Hindmarsh were pleased to have the opportunity to speak frankly and openly with the Parliamentary Secretary about their experiences.

‘Since being elected in 2004 I’ve spoken to hundreds of people in Hindmarsh about living with disabilities. Many of them struggle to make their voices heard on a day to day basis, but today many have had the chance to have their views heard directly’ said Steve Georganas.

Mr Georganas noted the significant progress already made in the area on issues such as pension increases and improved access to supported accommodation, in home and respite care, but agreed that there was still more work to be done.