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National Disability Insurance Scheme

Clare Conroy (Evander's mother) and Alan HAmilton (Evander's grandfather) were interview coming out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Rally Sydney April 2012

Here is part of the transcript...


Funding questions remain over NDIS

The Government's decision to fund part of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) from July next year has been welcomed by disabled Australians, but questions are being raised about where the money for the scheme will come from...

Long overdue 

But people within the disabled community say the scheme is vital, and long overdue.

One of the thousands of Australians at the rally in Sydney was Clare Conroy, whose 11-month-old son has a crushed spinal chord.

His name is Evander, just like the world champion American boxer.

Ms Conroy says her son is a fighter too, but he cannot stand on his own.

"He's really needing intensive therapies and also equipment is the other main thing that he needs: standing frames, wheelchairs, all of that sort of thing," she said.

"We have two other children, so there's lots of costs in our family already. There's certain equipment that's provided, wheelchairs, but other things aren't on the list and we have to go to charities like Variety, I think, and other charities in order to get that equipment. So it's all very important, but otherwise it comes from our own pocket, which we don't really have."

She says while she understands the cost to taxpayers, the funding is needed for disabled people to have what other Australians take for granted.

"I guess there's a lot of strain on the taxpayers, but I think people with disabilities they're a very needy group. And like they were saying inside [the rally], that every Australian counts and they should have the right to what every other Australian has in terms of their needs," he said.

And one of the architects of the scheme, John Walsh, says significant funding is needed straight away.

Mr Walsh has been a quadriplegic since a football accident when he was 20.

Now a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers - he helped write the Productivity Commission's report on the scheme - and says the Prime Minister decision to bring it forward is ambitious.

He says $500 million will be needed in next Tuesday's budget alone.

"The risk is that bringing it forward makes it more difficult to do it properly so there's a great deal of work to do in the next 12 months to make it work properly," he said.

Alan Hamilton, who went to the rally with Clare Conroy and Evander, approves of Ms Gillard's announcement.

"I think it was great to hear - for everyone to hear that the Prime Minister was going to start pilot programs in this budget. And some people are going - they're going to make the system work and make sure it works before they launch it to the nation," he said.

But Mr Hamilton is concerned about what might become of the National Disability Insurance Scheme if the Gillard governments fails. 

"We only hope that Mr Abbott, when he becomes a prime minister, will make sure that he continues what's been started today." 

AUDIO: Round one of disability scheme to start 2013(PM)


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