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Nov 152012

The following is a speech by Steve Minnikin MP, State Member for Chatsworth made in Queensland Parliament on 14th November 2012.

(8.08 pm): I rise with pride in this chamber to support the Disability Services (Your Life Your Choice) Amendment Bill 2012 and from the outset congratulate the minister and the committee involved. This amendment bill is a clear demonstration of the Newman government’s commitment to improving Queensland’s front-line disability services.

This amendment bill focuses on streamlining and improving disability services to ensure that disabled Queenslanders and their families have more decision-making power and options. What does that mean? It means that, yet again, red tape will be reduced for service providers and individuals will get better value for money.

Disability services is vitally important to the Newman government and with the development of Your Life Your Choice’s self-directed support framework, individuals are given more control over the planning, purchase and delivery of disability services. Currently, the Disability Services Act 2006 will allow funding only directly to incorporated entities. This has meant that many individuals and families have resorted to establishing entities to meet the set guidelines to receive funding. In this day and age individuals and families dealing with a disability should not have to deal with this ridiculous layer of red tape. I wholeheartedly support this amendment bill, as individuals and families should not have to create entities to receive funding to make their choices on services and basic care. Every human deserves the right to make their own decisions with respect to their own life, especially in terms of their own care to manage their disability.

Disability services is close to my heart. Within my electorate of Chatsworth, which I have the privilege to represent in this very chamber, I have had the opportunity to meet several families with young adults with severe intellectual and physical disabilities. These carers are the true unsung heroes of the community. The current system does not support an individual’s or family’s right to choice, nor control over services. It certainly does not support people with a disability and their right to make decisions in terms of the best care required. The Newman government has demonstrated that it is concerned about providing better care and services to individuals and families to deal with a disability. The development of the Your Life Your Choice self-directed support framework is certainly testament to this. With this amendment bill, an individual with a disability or their families will not have to face the tribulations of the red tape of being an entity to receive direct funding. This bill will enable individuals with a disability or their families to exercise the fundamental basic human right principle of autonomy and independence.

This amendment bill places more emphasis on the importance of individual choice and control over a person’s care. Not only will this amendment bill give more choice and control; it will project a new focus on customer choice and control in the delivery of disability services—long overdue in this state. This will increase the quality, safety and, more importantly, accountability of disability services.

Unlike other states or territories, Queensland, along with Victoria, does not provide an express head of power for funding to be provided directly to an individual or appropriate carer, for example, a family member. This amendment bill will bring Queensland into alignment with other states and territories, apart from Victoria. Furthermore, this amendment bill seeks to provide an express head of power to enable funding to the individual or suitable person on their behalf—their carer or a family member. Finally, some common sense is being introduced to allow people with a disability some control over the care that they may receive or have a loved one receive. The bill will also require an agreement to be prepared for the funding to ensure accountability for all stakeholders.

I have heard constituents from the Chatsworth electorate complain bitterly that, under the previous Labor government, the funding that they received for disability services was denuded by administrative on-costs, which directed funds away from the primary support recipient. Ultimately, this amendment bill shows that the Newman government supports the right for disabled people to make their own decisions and choices over their care and the disability services that they wish to utilise. Without the bureaucracy and the red tape, this government is making it easier for disabled people and their families to access the right care and resources for them under their circumstances.

This amendment bill will ensure that Queensland is well equipped to transition into any future National Disability Insurance Scheme — one that is focused on delivering front-line disability services and not weighed down by layers of unnecessary administration costs. I put this to everyone in this chamber: how many ALP members opposite read the Productivity Commission report regarding the funding of an NDIS? This issue is far more important than playing petty wedge politics. How refreshing it will be for the disability sector in Queensland to have a framework that supports more choice and control in terms of the care people receive when accessing essential resources. This bill will allow individuals to at long last have to a degree freedom of choice and control over their own lives and destinies.

Of the many speeches I have delivered in this hallowed chamber, it gives me no greater pleasure than to commend this amendment bill to the House. I again extend my congratulations to the minister for bringing forward this amendment bill and thank her, like many families in the Chatsworth electorate, for giving more Queenslanders and their families choice and control in their disability care options. I commend the Disability Services (Your Life Your Choice) Amendment Bill to the House.

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