BALLINA Mayor Phillip Silver said he still had nightmares about his time at the Morris Home for Incurables in Adelaide in the late 1960s. He was speaking to a crowd of carers, disability support workers and others who had gathered to express their support for the Federal Government's National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) that has been granted $1 billion over four years in the budget, but still needs to pass through the parliament before it can be implemented.
"There are so many adult carers who are distressed about what will happen to their child when they pass on... I believe that we should be known around the world as a nation that looks after each after other; not for koalas or gold medals or wide open spaces or iron ore, but for our capacity to look after each other," Mr Silver said.
The NDIS is a Medicare-style national insurance scheme that provides funding for people with a disability for personal support, therapy, equipment, home modifications, and employment training.
If passed by the parliament, a number of trial pilot programs will take place before the scheme is rolled out across Australia. At Thursday's rally Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell said she was "putting her hand up now" to nominate the Northern Rivers as one of those pilot sites.
She agreed with comments that the NDIS was a significant national development, on par with the apology to Aboriginal people and giving women the right to vote.
Rally organiser Linda Mills from the Northern Rivers Social Development Council said about 250 people attended the Lismore rally and they were calling for bipartisan support of the NDIS.
"While we are celebrating this historic announcement (the budget announcement) we still need to ensure current and future governments are committed to the scheme," she said.
There are so many adult carers who are distressed about what will happen to their child when they pass on.