Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) has been caught out playing politics on the important issue of disability services.

Member for Mulgrave and Minister for Disability Services Curtis Pitt said a media release issued by the KAP candidate for Cairns simply doesn’t stack up and completely ignores the Bligh Government’s $50 million election pledge to boost support for students with disabilities.

“Unfortunately Darren Hunt hasn’t done his homework on what our proposed new disabilities education package will actually deliver,” Mr Pitt said.

“I genuinely welcome Mr Hunt’s support for our proposed $32.5 million Special School in Cairns – but his omission of our pledge to also boost support for teachers is disappointing, to say the least.

“He’s either not being paying attention or he hasn’t bothered to read the Premier’s recent announcement, which outlines in great detail how we’ll invest an extra $50 million in teacher skilling and resourcing.

“Darren Hunt asks where the teachers and teacher aides will come from. There’s no mystery here, the answer is already in black and white.

“A re-elected Bligh Labor Government will invest almost $50 million to:

  • Establish a Centre of Expertise in the Educational Needs of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Invest in new training and professional development for teachers and teacher aides, including scholarships for specialist postgraduate qualifications in teaching students with autism
  • Deliver up to 3,000 additional teacher aide hours over three years to further support students with disabilities
  • Provide $150,000 to expand existing teacher and parent services in the field of dyslexia
  • Provide more Speech Language Pathologists to work in Queensland state schools.

“The only mystery is why Mr Hunt has failed to familiarise himself with a policy that’s been very well-received by teachers, educators and parents in Far North Queensland and in other parts of the State.”

Mr Pitt said Labor has been working hard to put things right and get disability services back on track in Queensland after decades of underinvestment.

“State Labor Governments have increased funding for disability services by 495 per cent since the Nationals/Liberals were last in power – reaching a record $1.77 billion in 2011-12,” he said.

“We’re also working with the Commonwealth to lay the foundations for a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“A re-elected Bligh Government will keep investing in improved education and services for Queenslanders with disabilities and special needs.”