Territorians with Disabilities will have a new voice in cabinet with the creation of a Ministerial portfolio of Disability Services. The Hon Robyn Lambley MLA has been appointed as the new Minister for Disability Services. This is the first time this portfolio has existed in the Territory, which brings the Northern Territory into line with all other mainland jurisdictions.
With the start of the National Disability Insurance Scheme trial in the Barkly later this year, it is important that the Territory Government has a strong grasp of the issues facing Territorians with a Disability and their families.
Looking forward it is the plan of the NT Government to ensure that Territorians with a disability are not discriminated against and receive the support they deserve. This will involve the development of a strategic plan for Disability Services in the Northern Territory and the establishment of a Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability Reform to oversee the Barkly NDIS rollout.
Somerville Community Services CEO Vicki O’Halloran will chair the council on disability reform, other members include Greg McMahon of Carpentaria Disability Services, Joe Smith of Step Out, Liz Reid of YouthWorx NT, and carers and family members of Territorians with a disability.
Around 27,000 Territorians identify as having a disability. Of these, 5000 people under 65 years of age have a severe or profound disability.