Yarrabah School

Mr RICHARDSON (Mordialloc) — I raise a matter for the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing. The action I seek is for the minister to visit Yarrabah School in Aspendale and to provide an update on the rollout of the national disability insurance scheme (NDIS) across Victoria and its interaction with the school.

The NDIS is a once-in-a-generation policy which will support an estimated 105 000 Victorians. This vital policy has bipartisan support and illustrates what we can achieve when we act together in the best interests of our community.

I was so pleased when the Victorian government signed a historic bilateral agreement with the commonwealth government in the last month, providing a pathway for the rollout of the national disability insurance scheme in Victoria over the next three years.

I have mentioned a few times in this place the important role that Yarrabah School plays in my community in educating and caring for children and adolescents with disabilities. The motto of Yarrabah School is ‘The small school with a big heart’, and the school is renowned in our community for its care, its support and its nurturing environment, and it has a special place in the hearts and minds of local residents.

Yarrabah is an exceptional example of a school giving all students with special needs and disabilities the best possible outcomes. It caters for the needs of children aged 2 through to 18 with intellectual, physical or multiple disabilities.

Yarrabah has experienced exponential growth in student numbers. In 1990 a total of 19 students went to the school, and that has expanded to more than 150 today — that is a 700 per cent increase in student numbers over the past two decades. Enrolments will edge towards 200 in next few years.

Yarrabah provides early childhood education to over 60 children, with 90 staff supporting the considerable personal needs of the students who attend the school. The school’s services are wide ranging, supporting the students’ physical and curriculum needs.

One key priority for Yarrabah is supporting students who are reaching the age of 18 years in their transition out of the school environment. A key question and priority for families is how they access a range of support services and, for some, how they might be able to access the NDIS and source the care and support they desperately need.

By 1 July 2019 the NDIS will provide that personal care and support for people with a disability across Victoria. Once the full rollout of the NDIS is widespread, these families in our community will have certainty.

I take this opportunity to put on the record my thanks for and acknowledgement of the work of Yarrabah’s principal, Matthew Harris, and the team there, who do a wonderful job in advocating for their school and its students.

In conclusion, the action I seek is for the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing to visit Yarrabah School and provide an update on the rollout of the NDIS across Victoria and how that relates to the school community.