Dad ridicules disability approach
TOOWOOMBA father Tony Lanigan has labelled Premier Campbell Newman "heartless" for his failure to commit to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Mr Lanigan, 75, and his wife Liz, 79, are deeply concerned at what fate will befall their 47-year-old son when they pass away.
Their son Ian suffers from cerebral palsy.
Despite a $1 billion pledge from the Federal Government to set-up the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Campbell Newman said he was not interested in participating until at least 2014.
Mr Newman blamed the precarious position of the state's finances as the reason behind his decision.
However, Mr Lanigan said the decision was simply a political tactic by a "spineless" premier who did not really care about those who live with a disability both in Toowoomba and across Queensland.
"Campbell Newman should spend a day with a person living with a disability to see what challenges they face on a daily basis," Mr Lanigan said.
"People with a disability did not even rate a mention when he listed his top priorities.
"However, dingos, turtles and dugongs rated a mention.
"It is a case of out of mind . . . out of sight," he said.
Mr Lanigan, who is also the founder and president of the Toowoomba Intellectual Disability Support Association, said the Premier was ignorant of the facts regarding people who live with a disability.
"I would not vote for Campbell Newman again and I have been a conservative voter my entire life," Mr Lanigan said.
"He has lied to Queensland and anyone who lives or cares for someone with a disability will remember this at the next election.
"What he is forgetting is that people with a disability have a right to vote and so do their carers.
"Next time the Premier dons a hard hat to cut a ribbon, I really hope he thinks of those disabled Queenslanders, like my son, whose light at the end of the tunnel he has extinguished," he said.
An emotional Mr Lanigan said his biggest fear in life, and that of his wife, was who would look after his son when he and his wife eventually departed this world.
"We love our son with all our hearts. We have lived with, and managed, Ian's disability for the past 47 years," Mr Lanigan said.
"It deeply concerns us as to what will happen to him after we are gone.
"It is the one issue that we have always been fearful of," he said.
Recently, Ian moved out of his parent's home at Meringandan West and is living in rental accommodation across the road from the Endeavour Foundation where he has worked for the past 13-years.
"In life, Ian focuses on four things: work, bowling, food and family," Mr Lanigan said.
"While we both still watch over him very closely, he enjoys living independently as he no longer has to use the public transport system in Toowoomba.
"Ian has been the victim of unkind school children taunts in the past which has upset him, and us, very much," he said.
The row over the National Disability Insurance Scheme culminated this week at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard was planning to launch the National Disability Insurance Scheme, in conjunction with the states, in time for the next Federal Election.
However, only Labor states of South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT agreed to contribute extra money to secure a trial while every Coalition-run state refused.