‘ Bro­ken’ dis­abled sys­tem to be fixed

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by John An­der­sen john. an­der­sen@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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.

Stid­ston

‘‘ 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.

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