THE LUCKY ONES: Wondai residents Mary and Ken McGregor said they support the Federal Government's $1 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme despite them not needing as much assistance as others. Photo: Danielle Lowe / South Burnett Times
THE LUCKY ONES: Wondai residents Mary and Ken McGregor said they support the Federal Government's $1 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme despite them not needing as much assistance as others. Photo: Danielle Lowe / South Burnett Times Danielle Lowe

Dept change Is scheme needed

A FARMING accident 47 years ago left Wondai resident Ken McGregor paralysed from the waist down.

But that hasn't stopped he and wife Mary from living their life as normally as possible.

Despite Ken undergoing numerous operations to repair damage to his back, two heart operations and many hours spent with an occupational therapist, he hasn't let his disability slow him down.

"He spends quite a bit of time gardening," Mary said.

"And he's lost fingers and dropped grinding axes on his feet.

"He's always in the wars, but he just gets up and keeps going."

The Gillard Government announced its $1 billion promise of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to be rolled out over four years starting next year to give financial assistance to people with a disability.

The funding is designed to support all Australians with existing disabilities and emerging, significant disabilities.

It is touted as the biggest social reform in Australia since Medicare.

However when I mentioned this to Ken and Mary they said they were unsure how it would actually work.

"There are already departments in place which assist us with the things we need," Mary said.

"I don't see how yet another department will help.

"Not to say that people with a disability don't need all the help they can get, but I'm a little confused as to how this $1 billion will be rolled out."

Ken and Mary said they are the lucky ones and are not in need of as much funding as others.

"There are people out there who are really struggling and they're the ones who need the assistance," Ken said.

"We've been lucky because we've never had to pay for any hospital visits and my wheelchairs and beds are heavily subsidised.

"But we know there are people out there who get no help and they're the ones who this $1 billion would help.

"But I don't understand why they are calling it insurance? It sounds like another Medicare perhaps."

Mary said the government needed to clarify exactly what it is they are offering because she said a lot of people were unclear about what funds are available to them.

"This scheme may be just what some people need," she said. "People with MS and other disease related illnesses could benefit greatly from the NDIS."

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