NDIS supporters rally in red
THE Sunshine Coast man who instigated an instrumental rally that prompted the Federal Government to commit to the National Disability Insurance Scheme said the turnout was beyond what he ever dreamed of.
Peter Yeo fell over at his home 10 years ago when he was running to answer his mobile phone and suffered a debilitating spinal injury.
Since the accident left him wheelchair bound Mr Yeo has been actively involved in spearheading a series of initiatives to get people with disabilities the services they deserve.
In January, Mr Yeo and Queensland campaign organiser Fiona Anderson began to organise the NDIS rally, which was held in Brisbane on Monday.
Rallies were also held in capital cities across Australia.
Thousands of people donned red apparel in Brisbane where they walked from South Bank to Reddacliff Place.
"I feel very proud to have instigated such a huge thing, it is very special," Mr Yeo said.
"It just shows how many people are hurting.
"There are so many people that can't afford carers and can only have three showers a week.
"It has been proven that (the NDIS) should happen now."
Mr Yeo said people with disabilities, their carers and their families added up to one in four of the total population.
"We have been treated, up until now, like second class citizens," he said.
The Productivity Commission found that people with disabilities were unfunded and recommended a $6.3 billion NDIS.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard attended the Sydney rally where she announced the Federal Government would fund their share of the long-awaited scheme in the May budget.
"We will launch a full year sooner than the Productivity Commission suggested," she said.
"That means from the middle of next year, select launch sites around the country will begin serving around 10,000 people with disability.
"Growing to 20,000 people from the middle of 2014."