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Jul 18, 2011
Geraldine Mellet

MP Melissa Parke tells parliament “We must take it on”

The federal Member for the seat of Fremantle, Melissa Parke, has delivered a passionate & blunt  message to federal parliament that an NDIS is an essential reform that they must take on. That message comes straight from the Every Australian Counts supporters who have visited and emailed and invited her into their homes.  The following is an excerpt from the speech she delivered to the House of Representatives in Canberra on the 7th July in which she mentions many of those individuals and organisations and how they have influenced her.   ( The full transcript is attached) 

“Today I want to mention some of the people in my electorate who are living with disability but who are also, remarkably, working to advocate for better approaches to disability support. Lesley Murphy is an example—and I have spoken before about Lesley and her son, Conor, who suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In addition  to the incredible commitment of Lesley and her husband, Maurice, to Conor, Lesley has  worked hard to argue for more and better esearch into Duchenne’s. The newly established National Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Registry is a key part of delivering on that need, and  I pay tribute to Lesley for being one of the people who has worked to make this real.

Ray and Wendy Walter and their son Glen are an example. Glen is now a constituent of mine because Ray and Wendy have purchased a flat for him in my electorate. Over the last several years, the Walters have been a critical part of pushing for the creation of the disability support trust, a mechanism that allows parents to provide for a disabled child through the purchase of a house  or unit without jeopardising their support payments. I pay tribute to Ray and Wendy, and I say welcome to Glen, who is a lovely man.

Chloe Corfield is an example. It is my privilege to have been chosen by Chloe and her family Through the adopt-a-politician scheme in WA. I have spoken before about how much I have learned from and how much I have been inspired by Chloe, who has Rett syndrome and epilepsy and about the efforts of her family to ensure she has as full and happy a life as possible.

Last Thursday, I visited the Guilfoile family in my electorate, because Julie Guilfoile asked if I would come to see the way that she and her husband Jim and their other teenage children care for their 15-year-old son, Eamon,  who has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Julie and Jim wanted me to understand the financial and support service factors that recently forced them to make the heart-rending decision to move Eamon  to a group residential care facility. I think everyone in Australia would understand how the Guilfoiles would look to the introduction of something like an NDIS as the means by which they could bring Eamon back home. That is what they want more than anything, it is what Eamon wants, and it is not hard to see that this would constitute a better care environment and a better life for their son.  

When I recently met with a number of people, including both carers and clients, from Mosaic Community  Care, a multidisciplinary service provider, they made it clear to me that an NDIS had the potential to transform disability policy and funding.  The driving concept behind the NDIS as a model is to provide more resources for disability services and support and to address the current systemic shortcomings on a financially sustainable basis. These shortcomings include insufficient resources; service gaps; inconsistency; lack of control and involvement for people with disability and their families; inappropriate models of care, especially in relation to age specific needs; a lack of coordination; and, sadly, a great deal of uncertainty when  it comes to the future. It has to be acknowledged that no new national disability scheme is likely to dispense with all these problems to their full extent or in quick time because they are, in many respects, difficult and complicated. If we do not admit this, we may be setting unreasonable expectations, but that does not mean we cannot take on this challenge. We must take it on. I look forward to the Productivity Commission’s report and its recommendations as the next step in this essential reform process”.  Click on this link to read the full transcript Melissa Parke hansard

1 Comment

  • Thank you Melissa – let’s hope the Government sees sense at last and introduces the NDIS so we at least have some control over our lives. The alternative is too depressing to contemplate!

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