Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:00): Last week, I had the privilege of once again visiting the Ella Centre in Haberfield in my electorate. It is a local organisation that works hard to support people in the inner west with disability, servicing the area now for more than 40 years. In that time, the Ella Centre’s passion for social justice has ensured support for people with disabilities or dementia, older people and carers, as well as those struggling to get by.
My colleague Jenny Macklin, the shadow minister for disability reform, joined me as we celebrated the announcement that the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be arriving in the inner west in 2017. For people with disability, their carers and families, this is a significant milestone. Jesse Ellis currently relies on the Ella Centre. They help him with issues relating to his cerebral palsy. For people like Jesse, whom we met at the centre, the NDIS will make a world of difference. The NDIS is an example of how the decisions that governments make have the capacity to shape people’s lives for the better. I am very proud to have been part of the former Labor government which fought hard to see the NDIS introduced. I know that many local residents with disability have waited their whole life to get the care and support that they need. It is a huge breakthrough for people in my local community. Now they have the certainty of knowing when they will be able to access services as part of the NDIS. Because of the NDIS, people with disability will have their needs met in a way that supports them to live with the choice and the dignity that they deserve.
It must be noted that campaigns are only won when they have the support of the community. I thank local supporters for their work in advocating for the NDIS over the past few years. Their voices have been critical throughout this process. I would also like to recognise some of the other organisations in my electorate that make a positive difference each and every day in the lives of people with disability. FRANS in Croydon and the Infants’ Home in Ashfield are two more examples of local organisations committed to ensuring equality of opportunity. The history of FRANS dates back to 1983. Today they run life skills programs, vacation care, supported living and recreational activities. I visited FRANS with former Prime Minister Julia Gillard some few years ago. The Infants’ Home looks after young children with disability, providing critical support.
I want to thank Phil Coller, the CEO of the Ella Centre, and Sonja Despotov, the services manager, along with board members David Pigott and Phil McCrea, for hosting us last week. I wish them all the best as they continue to support people with disability, their carers and families in the inner west.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.