Sea of red as thousands rally for the disabled

Rallies were held around the country today to raise awareness of the financial difficulties facing people with disabilities and their carers and to promote the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

About a thousand people including many with disabilities, Paralympians, carers and representatives of various disability groups including Endeavour, Cerebal Palsy League and Spinal Injuries Association of Queensland took part in the rally in Brisbane.

Speakers told of the severity of the problems they faced every day.

“I believe the hardest part of my day is getting out the front door,” Rally MC paralympian Karni Liddell said.

“Without my $15,000 wheelchair and my $5,000 hoist to get into my car, I wouldn’t be able to attend today’s rally.”

President of Spinal Injuries Asscociation of Queensland David Reilly believed the insurance scheme would affect everyone with a disability and had the power to change lives.

He said he visited many spinal injury patients at Princess Alexandra Hospital who were restricted to hospital beds as there was not enough funding for proper accommodation.

“I’m not going to stand around and watch the NDIS campaign be dragged along,” he said.

Organiser of the national campaign for NDIS, Fiona Anderson, said it was vital that people with disabilities weren’t sidelined.

“The main message behind NDIS is that the supporters are united by a common goal despite their differences and the need to change the support of individuals with a disability and their families so people with disabilities are a part of ordinary life and not forever sidelined,” Ms Anderson said.

Federal ALP Senator for Queensland Jan McLucas said Prime Minister Julia Gillard had promised her Government would fund their initial share of the NDIS as part of the 2012 budget.

She said that from mid-2013, 10,000 individuals with significant and permanent disabilities would begin to receive support.

By July 2014, the figure would be 20,000, she said. An agency would be established to maintain lifetime support for individuals with disabilities no matter how they acquired their disability.

State Minister of Child Safety, Mental Illness and Disabilities Tracy Davis said she applauded the announcement but it was a long time coming.

See also: Carers tell of financial challenges

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