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Kirsty Martinsen reflects on our National Symposium

The Summer Foundation recently supported Kirsty Martinsen to speak at our Leaving Hospital Well National Symposium. Kirsty spoke about her experiences living with a disability and her hopes for the NDIS and health services to work together. She wrote this postscript:

Back in the cold in Adelaide the post Summer Foundation National Symposium warmth has started to wear off. When in Melbourne my favourite place to visit is always the National Gallery of Victoria. This time there was an exhibition called ‘Colony’ on, charting the complex history of Australian colonisation from both European and Indigenous perspectives. Looking at the artwork, often by transported craftsmen, of the first settlements in Sydney Cove and Van Dieman’s Land, the fine ink drawings of the first penal compounds, and watercolours of clusters of little buildings in protected little coves surrounded by sweeping vistas of bushland, and my thoughts kept turning to the NDIS.

I kept thinking about the pioneering spirit, what those people in 1788 Australia had to deal with.

And my thoughts turned to the first winemakers of the Barossa Valley, planting seeds they’d brought with them from Germany, into the richest soil and most favourable conditions they could find in this foreign land. Two hundred years on, those seeds are gnarled old vines producing some of the world’s best wine.

Australia is still grappling with the painful changes forced upon it by European settlement and I don’t mean to draw a direct comparison with the changes the NDIS will bring. I’m pondering the pioneering spirit, of planting seeds in fertile soil that become the foundations of a strong, deeply rooted society. And I’m hoping it doesn’t take 200 years!

I do feel Australia is at the beginning of a long hard slog and the road ahead may be quite scary and bleak at times, that the shift in consciousness NDIS represents will not happen overnight.

I feel positive for the future for disabled people in this country and must remember to be patient in the years ahead. It’s remarkable to be at the beginning of something so important.

Watch Kirsty’s story here.

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