‘ Broken’ disabled system to be fixed
AUSTRALIA’S ‘‘ broken’’ system of care for the disabled looks set to be fixed.
The Federal Government has announced a revolutionary $ 12.5 billion nationally funded plan aimed at allowing people born with a disability or with acquired disabilities to adopt positive lifestyle changes. For many it will mean a release from a world of seclusion and non-participation.
B u r d e k i n q u a d r a p l e g i c S c o t t Stidston yesterday gave the Gillard government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme the thumbs up, saying it was the ‘‘ way to go for the future of people with disabilities in Australia’’.
Mr Stidston, who has been a wheelchair-bound quadraplegic since a motorb i k e a c c i d e n t i n Townsville in 1986, s a i d t h e s c h e m e would be a r evolutionary mechanism for the nation’s disabled population.
‘‘ As long as they leave the scheme as it’s proposed now and don’t go watering it down, it will be good,’’ Mr Stidston said.
‘‘ The system we have now is broken and we can’t keep going like this.
‘‘’’ There are a lot of people out there whose needs are not being met.’’
CEO of Cootharinga North Queensland Brendan Walsh said the scheme was a progressive and welcome step that would place Australia at the global forefront of caring for people with disabilities.
‘‘ It will improve the lives of the disabled dramatically,’’ he said.
Mr Stidston said one issue the new scheme needed to address was fault and liability when it came to accidents.
He said under the present system, people who were ‘‘ in the right’’ could sue and end up with enough money to help them live a reasonable life.
He said that people who caused an accident or who were ‘‘ in the wrong’’ and were injured had no recourse to funds that might help them get on with their lives.
‘‘ The way I understand it with the new scheme, if you have an accident and you are in the right, you still have the right to sue, but, if you are in the wrong and you are injured, you have access to funds through the scheme that will help you live your life,’’ he said.
‘ This scheme won’t just meet current unmet needs.
‘‘’’ It ture.’’
Mr Stidston said his wife Lisa had looked after him for 24 hours a day, seven days a week for so many years she now suffered from a bad back and shoulders. ‘‘ All the care over so many years fell back on her and now it has created another person with a disability.’’
Mr Stidston said the scheme would allow him to undertake more volunteer work. He said most of this involved touring schools and speaking about spinal cord injuries, injury prevention and road safety.
Endeavour Foundation CEO David Barbagallo said the current system was highly inefficient and failed to ensure that people with disabilities had access to basic human rights such as education, mobility, the ability to raise a family or even not t o die young f rom preventable health issues.
will meet needs into the