9 December 2009
Children with disabilities deserve better
A petition calling on the Government to reverse its devastating cuts to occupational and physical therapy in schools
will today be presented to Parliament by Labour Disability Issues Spokesperson Lynne Pillay.
“Education Minister Anne Tolley is denying disabled children in the future to get access to therapy they will need to
stay in the classroom. We need to hold her to account for this,” Lynne Pillay said.
“Nearly 1500 people concerned at the cutbacks that will limit the ability of children with disabilities to access the
assistance they need have signed the petition. They are concerned that the Minister has signalled the slow death of
Government support for students with disabilities by cutting future funding for this service.
“The cut in funding for occupational and physical therapists for the most vulnerable children in our society is harsh
and deprives children of essential support.
“These children have tremendous physical and communicative difficulties and the provision of occupational and physical
therapy assists them to grow, develop and reach their full potential.
Two and a half million dollars is a very small amount to provide the support these children require. It adds insult to
injury that private schools have received a massive funding boost of $35 million.
“Anne Tolley virtually admitted that the decision she made to limit children in the future living with disabilities the
ability to access services at school was wrong when she backed down from her earlier decision to make even greater
“It’s extremely important that politicians, parents, teachers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and communities
continue to pressure the Government on this issue,” Lynne Pillay said.