PMB: International Day of People with a Disability

28 November 2016

I rise today to speak on the private member's motion brought to the chamber by the member for Lindsay to acknowledge International Day of People with Disability on Saturday, 3 December. I note that this year's theme is 'Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want', which draws attention to the United Nations' sustainable development goals that can encourage a more inclusive and equitable world for all people.

Like the member for Lindsay, and all on this side of the House, I am committed to ensuring Australians with a disability get the support they need through an adequately funded and resourced National Disability Insurance Scheme. The NDIS, developed by Labor, has been life-changing for so many people, and we will work to ensure the Turnbull government adequately funds and resources the NDIS so that many more people with a disability can achieve their goals to live inclusively and equitably; to live well. Labor remains committed to working with the government to ensure its success. It is too important to fail.

The goals determined by the United Nations are worthwhile reflecting upon: to end poverty and hunger; to ensure good health and education; to ensure access to clean water and sanitation; to ensure affordable and clean energy; to stamp out inequality; to ensure decent work, economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure; to ensure sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production; and to ensure peace and justice for all. These goals build on the principle of 'leaving no-one behind', emphasising a holistic approach to achieving a sustainable world. But these goals are particularly relevant to people with a disability, as there is a strong link between disability and poverty, especially in developing countries. Even in our own beautiful country, disability can cause poverty by preventing full participation in the economic and social life of our communities, especially if the appropriate supports are not available.

We are fortunate to have so many organisations that do work towards making those appropriate supports available, and today I would like to make mention of just one in my electorate. Mai-Wel in Maitland, led by an extraordinary CEO, Pennie Kearney, is one of the largest disability service providers in the lower Hunter region, providing services and programs to 800 clients across nine local government areas. Mai-Wel offers people with a disability work and training opportunities, living, leisure and lifestyle services, and a creative arts program—which comes into its own at this time of year.

There are number of Mai-Wel events around International Day of People with a Disability that I would like to share with you. There was a performance last week of Destiny—The Musical—The journey starts here at a fundraising party for the launch of a disability-led arts project funded by Accessible Arts NSW and hosted by Cessnock's Royal Oak Hotel. Maitland Includes You: a summer exhibition of artworks at Maitland Regional Art Gallery featuring the works of artists with a disability. Cessnock Includes YOU is a similar exhibition at Cessnock Regional Art Gallery, which will be officially opened on the International Day of People with Disability, this Saturday. And, to take place next Wednesday, there is the Tin Pan Alleycats original songwriting album launch party celebrating the debut album of students graduating from Hunter TAFE with a statement of attainment in Certificate III in Music.

Congratulations to everyone involved in these events. They truly are examples of the kinds of supports our community needs for all people to live inclusively and equitably and to live well. I for one again want to really celebrate the work of the creative arts that have been achieved through Mai-Wel. The artists, the musicians—I have sat and had chats to them, had some little jams and looked at their paintings. They truly are amazing, and they are worthy of display in some of our most reputable art galleries. That is why it is so great to think that they will be hanging in the Maitland Regional Art Gallery and in the Cessnock art gallery. Again, this is about inclusiveness for all so that we can have a better world for people with disabilities. I commend them to you: this coming Saturday, 3 December.