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Source: Prime Minister of Australia

PRIME MINISTER: Well, thank you very much, Ian, and to Lloyd and to everyone who’s been involved here in what is a very exciting day. To my colleagues who are here with me today, to Marise Payne who normally wouldn’t have had to travel too far to get here. But as Foreign Minister she’s come all the way from Brunei this morning so I’m glad you could make it, I know you wouldn’t want to miss it. Such a passionate supporter of Western Sydney, a resident of western Sydney. It’s great to be here with you, Marise, out here today. Of course, Stuart Robert, the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The Liberal Member for Camden is here but most importantly to Ricky and Vicki, thanks for having us at your place. It’s great to be here, it really is. Can I also acknowledge the Darug people and elders past and present and most importantly, emerging, our future. And can I also acknowledge any serving men and women from our defence forces and any veterans who are here today to say thank you for your service. We really appreciate it. 

I get to do some pretty cool stuff as Prime Minister. I said this yesterday when I was down in Adelaide. Earlier this week, I was in Melbourne congratulating and welcoming people into their first homes that they’d been able to buy through the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and that’s great when you see someone for the first time get in the position where they can buy their first home and move into their first home. But whether you’re buying or you’re moving into your new home like we are today, like Ricky and Vicki, it’s a special time. Earlier in the week, I sat down with the virologists who were the first to grow and share the coronavirus with the world. Incredibly clever people doing amazing things on the international stage. Yesterday, I opened the National Space Agency in Adelaide and, yeah, there were plenty of ‘beam me up Scotty’ jokes. They were breaking frontiers but today we’re breaking new frontiers in just the same way. It’s required a lot of smarts, a lot of innovation, bringing together the financial engineering together with the technology to make the most important things of all, and that is a home for people. A home where people can be themselves, a home where people can enjoy the home life that all Australians can. And so whether you’re going into space or you’re developing new specialty disability or accommodation for Australians, it’s pretty amazing what our country can do. I’m very pleased to be here with Jenny today, to be able to see this wonderful new place and to be able to be present as Ricky and Vicki move in.

Now, when I was growing up, Oran Park wasn’t known for this. Oran Park, as we know, was known for Brabham and Moss and Brock and Moffat and Bob Jane and Dick Johnson and all of these household names from many years ago. But now through this pilot accommodation we’re launching here today, this is another chapter. And it’s not just a chapter that will be out here in Western Sydney, as we’ve just heard through Northcott. This accommodation and the quality of this accommodation is going to be provided all around the country. And I love the name of the company. Now. forgive me if my Italian is not that great. Casa Capace? Casa Capace. Now, I’m sure you will know what that means. It means a home where you have the ability to achieve. Isn’t that a beautiful sentiment? Where you have the ability. That’s what the National Disability Insurance Scheme is all about. It’s about creating the ability. That’s what we’re focussed on and that is what this home enables. It goes to the heart of our country’s foundations. The idea that if you have a go, you get a go and Ricky and Vicki, they’re having a great go and it’s fantastic they’re getting this go here as they move into this new home. And that’s what the program is designed to achieve. 

Australians having choices is what this is all about and one of the things, one of the first things I did when I became Prime Minister almost two years ago now was I went up to Brisbane and I visited a place that was run by YoungCare and they provide specialist disability accommodation for young people. I saw the technology and the capability that was available in those homes and some of those young people had profound disabilities, absolutely profound disabilities. But the sense of independence they are able to achieve by living in a home that enabled them really put a smile on their face and really created a sense of community in that home, which was incredibly important. And that’s why we need to keep working on this. I remember talking to Lloyd about that not long after I’d been there and he was telling me what he was doing as part of the project that we’re seeing unveiled today. Australians with disability have told us loud and clear that we need these improvements and we have listened. I couldn’t have been more pleased when Minister Robert announced the new SDA design standard back in October. These are landmark guidelines for innovative housing models that will help architects, builders and the community as they look for new and better ways to build specialist housing for people with disabilities. In the latest quarter, we saw the number of SDA enrolled dwellings rise to around 4,000 – that’s right, 4,000. That’s growth of almost 13 per cent over the quarter. We really are getting on with this as we promised we would. That’s extremely encouraging because at full scheme we expect the NDIS to help around 28,000 Australians with a disability through the SDA. If those 28,000 people get to live in a place that’s both as functional and beautiful and a community that’s as wonderful as this home is in, then I think we will have achieved something truly magnificent.

Through our commitment to the NDIS and the SDA, our Government is pleased to be supporting DPN Casa Capace and thanks also to Northcott for the partnership that you’ve been providing. But what’s most important are the views of those who have a real stake in this. And so I’d like to reflect a few comments from one of the NDIS participants that we listened to recently, her name’s Sharon. And Sharon says disability accommodation is really important to her, in her words, because “it allows a person to have that chance to have a home, a space to be part of the community and celebrate what they really need to make that life come alive.” I couldn’t put it better. I couldn’t put it better. That’s really transformative stuff. Not only breaking down barriers for Australians with disability, but in reaching the community in which Ricky and Vicki will now be able to live and be a part of, coming here to add value to this wonderful community here in western Sydney. 

That’s why our Government will continue to listen and support greater freedom and flexibility backed by a fully-funded NDIS for all Australians with disabilities. I think, Stuart, it’s about 50,000 extra people who have come into the National Disability Insurance Scheme in the last calendar year of 2019. What I found really interesting is 40,000 were getting access to disability services for the first time. That’s the difference this program is making, that’s why I’ve always been a big believer and Jenny and I have been big believers in what this scheme can do. Because it transforms lives. And government can’t do it all on its own. That’s why it needs the innovation and the partnerships, whether it’s from the building industry, the housing industry, the financial industry. That’s how we solve problems in Australia. We solve them together. And when you do that together and you enable it together, look what happens. Look at this – how good is that? Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today and I congratulate all those who have been involved in this. All the best to Ricky and Vicki.