Last Monday I went to the National Disability Insurance Scheme rally. It was at Federation Square in Melbourne. There were about 2000 people. Speeches were made by state and federal politicians, as well as people with disabilities. It was good to share people's stories. Later in the day, the federal government announced it would begin a trial of the scheme within a year. I think the scheme is very important. It will help make people's lives more manageable. It will give people more opportunities. I left the rally happy knowing the government is doing its best to look after us.
Posted by: Karli Dettman, on 08/05/12
The NDIS could be available to some people within a year.
What does it mean to be have a disability in Australia today? For one thing, with limited body movement or communication skills it can affect our choices and who we want to be.
If we are Deaf or have a mobility impairment we may not be able to become lawyers without the support of services including Australian Sign Language (Auslan) interpreters or personal carers. If people cannot travel to workplaces on their own then they may not be able to get a regular income to pay for everyday expenses.
That's why it is so important to get extra government disability insurance to make lives more manageable. I went to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rally last Monday at Federation Square to help
Make it Real for everyone.
When I got off the platform at Flinders Street Station I saw splashes of colourful reds on some people. The rally had already started for me. The rally organisers asked us to wear red to show our support. As I entered the station lift with my daughter I was pleased to see so many wheelchair users with red t-shirts.
Organisations supporting NDIS
Walking towards Federation, or Fed, Square I could see many stalls from different organisations. They included Peninsula Access Support and Training Inc, Pinarc Disability Support, Carers Victoria, Yooralla, Disability Professionals VIC, Moira Financial Intermediary Service and Annecto Job Connections.
I couldn't easily get through the crowds to the stage to watch the unfolding stories and updating news. There were about 2000 supporters there and radio and TV media.
I finally worked my way around to the front of the stage and bumped into some people from the Victorian College for the Deaf, Able Australia and some employees of the Australian Communication Exchange. The Deaf students told me they came to the rally because 'we need NDIS to cover interpreter's fees'.
On the stage was the popular figure Stella Young who acted as the MC. She led a number of different speakers including senior state and federal politicians as well as people with disabilities and family members.
A politician shared his story that he loves his six children, two of whom have cerebral palsy. These real stories help us to understand why we need NDIS support now. Personal texts were coming through on the stage screens and included
Make it now,
Kelly needs a wheelchair,
Every Australian counts and
Let's fix the Australian system.
Julie Gillard was expected to go online via Skype from Sydney to announce a special message at the rally. Unfortunately this did not happen but news reports later in the day said the Prime Minister announced at the Sydney rally that the Federal government promised that within a year the NDIS could benefit people with serious and permanent disabilities.
Paraplegics as well as people with cerebral palsy, autism and brain injuries will be assessed by a government agency at trial locations all over Australia. The assessors will decide the level of financial support required for life.
I am a Deaf person so I wondered when the Deaf community will start receiving this great government financial scheme. I remember living in the UK and USA where Deaf and other people with disabilities receive the Daily Living Allowance (DLA) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) respectively. I hear this has given a lot of people financial security to live well.
Looking after us
The rally ended with the continuous chant, including in Auslan, of
Make it real. Finally, the talented group Rudely Interrupted, which includes people with disabilities, played a rock-n-roll show till just before 2pm. I left Fed Square contently knowing the Australian government is doing its best to look after people with disabilities. We are much better off in comparison to other countries where people with disabilities are neglected and so are left homeless and resort to begging on the streets for money or food.
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