Parliament: Questions Kelly's Asked

Disability Reform

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the minister representing the Premier questions about the blueprint for disability reform.

Leave granted.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I rise today, during what is National Carers Week, to discuss a promise that was made to South Australians with a disability and their friends, families and supporters. In late 2009, Premier Mike Rann asked the Social Inclusion Board to develop a reform plan for the disability sector. When he made that request, Mr Rann was effectively acknowledging the struggles which categorise the lives of South Australians with a disability and their carers—but he was promising his government was going to examine the problems and find solutions.

However, almost two full years have passed since this promise was made and it has been fulfilled belatedly and, therefore, inadequately, due to the belated release of this report. It was originally promised in July of this year but has only been tabled today, as we have seen. I consider this to be a great insult to the disability community.

Meanwhile, the Premier has been busily making sure that the mining industry and the film industry are taken care of well into the future. With just one day left until he leaves his role as leader of the state, it looks like he will leave us without ever having taken the problems in the disability sector genuinely seriously.

In National Carers Week we are supposed to celebrate the great contribution of family and friends who care for people with disabilities and help them to survive and thrive, but I cannot help thinking that we might have had more to celebrate if the Premier had kept his original promise and his original deadline. My questions are:

1. Will Mr Rann formally apologise for the frustration and anguish the belated delivery of the blueprint has caused to people with disabilities and their carers?

2. How exactly will Mr Rann ensure that the recommendations from this blueprint are followed up when he is no longer premier?

3. What does Premier Mike Rann consider to be his achievements in this sector, given that the timely release of this blueprint cannot be counted as one of them?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Public Sector Management, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises, Minister for Gambling): I thank the honourable member for her questions and will refer them to both the Premier and the Minister for Families and Communities in another place, and I will be pleased to bring back a response.

I know that the Minister for Families and Communities is particularly appreciative of the work of the Social Inclusion Board and its former chair Monsignor David Cappo. She is very much grateful for the work that he did for producing the report ‘Strong voices: a blueprint to enhance life and claim the rights of people with disability in South Australia’. I know that she also went to pains to thank and acknowledge Dr Lorna Hallahan who chaired the Social Inclusion Board’s disability subcommittee during the development of this plan.

I have been advised that the report has been integral in informing the Disability Blueprint and it contains recommendations regarding possible mechanisms and best practice approaches appropriate for South Australia. I have also been advised that the Minister for Families and Communities intends to release those recommendations now that the blueprint has been finalised and released publicly. The government and the incoming premier, no doubt, will now consider the blueprint before making further announcements in the coming weeks.

As I said, in terms of the response to the details of the honourable member’s questions, I am happy to take those on notice and I will refer them to the appropriate ministers and bring back a response.