YES. THIS BUDGET’S FOR YOU
It’s not only people with a disability who should be cheering the budget’s $1 billion commitment to a National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Every one of us should be applauding like mad.
Because perhaps, finally, Australians are beginning to understand in a profound way that disability is a part of life.
That people with disabilities are not the invisible “other”. They are us.
Supporters of the NDIS this year. Photo via The Geelong Advertiser.
Already, almost one in five Australians lives with a disability.
Today, a baby will be born with a disability.
Someone’s beloved child, a treasured friend or family member will be incapacitated or diagosed with an illness and life will never be the same again.
It could be me. It could be you.
Accidents, strokes, heart attacks, disease, congenital disorders. Such is life.
My journey with the NDIS began some four years ago when Bill Shorten asked me to become a member of the National People With Disabilities and Carer’s Council - the peak community advisory body to the Federal Government.
Why me? I’m not entirely sure.
But I’m so grateful to him because it’s not often you are able to watch, up close, a pillar of the nation’s social architecture being fashioned and hoisted into place by so many willing hands.
It’s been eye-opening for me to meet the incredibly hard working members of the Council. I take my seat next to those who are blind, deaf, have a brain injury or who are in wheelchairs – all with extraordinary stories to tell and all who are tireless in their campaigning for a better deal. I leave every meeting feeling inspired.
My council’s chair, Dr. Rhonda Galbally AO, herself a person with a disability, thought the day for the NDIS would never come.
“I’ve been around fighting for the rights of people with disabilities and their families since 1979,” she told me when I interviewed her recently on ABC RN’s Life Matters program.
‘This is really giving us hope like we’ve never had before. This is about people coming out and taking their place alongside every other Australian.
There has been tremendous, overwhelming support from people in the street, trade unions, business. They know this can happen to them, any time.
Disability is a part of life, part of living, part of being alive. Part, I think, of the value of life.
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