New scheme in public spotlight
LISMORE mother of two disabled children, Ellizabeth Smyth, was cautiously optimistic about the new National Disability Insurance Scheme as explained to Lismore residents at Goonellabah on Tuesday.
"I think it has some way to go but it's great they're keeping us informed of the progress," she said.
The busy mum, disability advocate, vice president of the Wilson Park School P&C committee and secretary of Summerland Early Intervention management committee, said the scheme - to be rolled out over five years - would make a big difference to her private and professional lives if delivered as promised.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Amanda Rishworth, and Page MP Janelle Saffin met with locals with disabilities, their families, carers and local service providers at the Lismore Workers Sports Club to answer questions about the scheme and the timetable for its implementation.
Ms Rishworth said the NDIS was the biggest reform to the disability sector Australia had seen, describing its passage through parliament last month as an historic moment.
"It was a really good turn out today ... and I was pleased with the discussion and the questions," Ms Rishworth said.
"It was also great for me to hear from local people on the ground about where the current system has let them down, and where we might go in the future in terms of care and support for people with a disability."
A long-time advocate of the scheme, Janelle Saffin described the current system as "unfair, under-funded, fragmented and inefficient".
"The Federal Labor Government knows that disability doesn't discriminate. Anyone can slip in the shower, have an accident or have a child with disability," Ms Saffin said.
"We want to make sure we get this reform right so we can build a system that is sustainable over time.
"That's why the Federal Labor Government is delivering $1 billion for the first stage of DisabilityCare Australia, and that's why we are working hard to roll out the scheme across NSW, including here on the North Coast."