Dis­abil­ity scheme a win­ner

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - Emily Mac­don­ald emily. mac­don­ald@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

AS our gov­ern­ment con­sid­ers whether to im­ple­ment the Na­tional Dis­abil­ity In­surance Scheme; I stum­bled upon the story of a man with a dis­abil­ity so se­vere he can’t talk or walk but with the help of his fa­ther, has run marathons and con­quered the gru­elling Hawaii Iron­man.

Dick, 70, and his 48-year-old son Rick, a spas­tic quad­ri­plegic with cere­bral palsy, are known as Team Hoyt and they are pre­par­ing to run their 29th Bos­ton Marathon next month which will bring their event tally to well over 1000.

There are sev­eral YouTube videos star­ring Team Hoyt and they are among the most in­spi­ra­tional and emo­tional I’ve ever watched.

Whether he is load­ing his son into an in­flat­able raft and tow­ing him on the swim leg, strap­ping him to a bike or push­ing him in his chair, there’s nowhere Dick has gone with­out Rick dur­ing their past 30 years of com­pe­ti­tions.

Doc­tors told Judy and Dick Hoyt to in­sti­tu­tion­alise their son at birth but in­stead they treated him like any of their other chil­dren.

They fought to keep him in the pub­lic school sys­tem, raised money for a spe­cial com­puter which al­lows him to com­mu­ni­cate with a tap of his head and cheered him on as he grad­u­ated from univer­sity.

Here in Aus­tralia there are thou­sands of peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­ity but un­like Rick Hoyt, not all of them have had the op­por­tu­nity to reach their full po­ten­tial.

The sys­tem is grossly un­der­funded, wait­ing lists are years long and car­ers are flat out putting food on the ta­ble af­ter pay­ing for the ex­penses associated with dis­abil­ity.

The Na­tional Dis­abil­ity In­surance Scheme, as rec­om­mended by the in­de­pen­dent Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion, has re­ceived early bi­par­ti­san sup­port from politi­cians but it is an ex­pen­sive ex­er­cise cost­ing an ad­di­tional $ 7 bil­lion an­nu­ally.

As a nation we can’t af­ford not to sup­port the scheme.

In North Queens­land, fam­i­lies, care providers and ex­perts have thrown their sup­port be­hind the na­tional ‘‘ Ev­ery Aus­tralian Counts’’ cam­paign and they need your help. The scheme will mean bet­ter ac­cess to ser­vices and pro­grams which will help peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties live mean­ing­ful lives and con­trib­ute to so­ci­ety as well as give ex­hausted car­ers a break.

It will mean chil­dren with dis­abil­ity won’t have to wait on a list un­til they are teenagers to ac­cess a pro­gram which could have made all the dif­fer­ence in their for­ma­tive years.

It will mean Aus­tralians with a dis­abil­ity are given the same op­por­tu­ni­ties to suc­ceed as ev­ery­one else. Go to ev­eryaus­tralian­counts . com. au to reg­is­ter your sup­port.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.