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February 14, 2013

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has paid tribute to the work of the Gippsland Carer’s Association during his address to Parliament on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Mr Chester told Parliament that legislation before the House was the culmination of many years of hard work by people with disabilities, their carers, family and friends and activists within the community.

Mr Chester said Jean Tops from the Gippsland Carers Association had been a formidable lobbyist and advocate on behalf of people with disabilities in the Gippsland region.

“The Gippsland Carers Association has been in existence for around 15 years, providing a voluntary support service to the families of carers throughout Gippsland,” Mr Chester told Parliament.

“They have recognised a need in the community to support the carers, and they have worked diligently to provide information, education, support and the advocacy work to assist people with disabilities in the community.

“I can assure you that her (Jean’s) submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill is well worth reading.

“She makes several points about the current major stumbling blocks in relation to support for people with disabilities—including that perennial argument of the states, territories and the Commonwealth over who will be responsible for what part of the funding.

“She makes it very clear what she thinks about making sure there is not continued duplication and waste of effort and ensuring that the Commonwealth steps up to the mark with the NDIS.”

Mr Chester also commended professional staff that work in schools and other facilities on a daily basis caring for people with disabilities.

“We are blessed to have some outstanding staff. Their professionalism and their commitment is extraordinary,” Mr Chester said.

“The healthy dose of love and compassion that they have for the people in their care is something that is quite remarkable and does them great credit.

“Without them in our community we would struggle to support people with disabilities in the Gippsland region.”

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