Senate Speech: the disabled deserve our support

Written on 02 September 2021. Posted in News

The love of a mother goes a long way, but sometimes it just won’t go far enough. And that is the case with the Jackson family in Tasmania. Jayden is a teenager deeply loved by his mother and father. Jayden has cerebral palsy and autism, is blind and cannot speak. To compound these issues, Jayden’s father recently had a stroke. Jayden’s mother, Lisa, is doing everything she possibly can to give her son the best in life. In her relentless search for specialist assistance, Lisa found a school for the blind in Queensland with all the necessary additional support services on hand, such as occupational therapy, speech therapy and a hydro pool. The Narbethong school in Queensland seems exactly what is needed for Jayden to be given the best opportunity in life.

Jayden has an NDIS plan. Under the plan, removal costs to relocate the client and his family closer to essential specialist facilities are, regrettably, not covered, and there seems to be no flexibility in the system to allow for such funding. In principle, I can understand the need to avoid cost blowouts in this taxpayer-funded scheme, but the difficulty with a one-size-fits-all approach is that worthy needy cases are denied that which is required. Any scheme needs tight stewardship to protect taxpayers’ money and to ensure the limited funds are appropriately targeted. Within those strict parameters, which I fully endorse, there can be, and indeed needs to be, room for flexibility to cater for the Jaydens of this world. I thank the Senate.