There was a lot of political posturing outside Parliament House in Canberra today. A lot of crying poor from the states. A lot of spin from federal ministers who talk about a commitment to a national disability insurance scheme but can’t find the cash required to make it happen.

Then there was the voice of Fiona Anderson, the Queensland co-ordinator of Every Australian Counts, a lobby group backing the scheme, and a mother with a particular interest in the outcome of today’s Council of Australian Governments meeting. As she told ABC’s AM:

“My 17-year-old son has a physical disability which is a brain injury. We don’t know why he’s got it. Apparently it was from around pregnancy or maybe post-birth, not too sure why. But the result is he has needed intensive therapy and wheelchairs and other equipment to ensure that he has the best possible chance to live the same kind of life as his sister and his friends …

“If the state, via the NDIS, invests in my son he is going to be able to do what everyone else does at his age. He’ll have the opportunity when he leaves school to go to TAFE or uni to study, to gain skills and then be able to enter the workforce. If we don’t get that kind of investment my husband and I can’t keep funding it endlessly. There aren’t really many options for him other than to stay at home for the rest of his life.”

The message to leaders locked away today couldn’t be clearer: shut up and get it done.

Peter Fray

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