Hume shares disability battles
WHEELCHAIR-dependent Martin Hume wants to make sure the Federal Government is not just sitting around.
That is why today, on the International Day of People with a Disability, the 20-year-old will be educating younger members of the community on issues disabled people face every day.
“The day is a chance for disabled people to be recognised and the community as a whole to become more aware ofpeople who have a disability,” Mr Hume said.
“They might not besomeone sitting in a wheelchair; you might not know they have a disability by looking at them.”
Mr Hume became a quadriplegic just over two years ago following a wakeboarding accident on the Tweed River and is yet to receive any insurance.
“At the moment when you have an accident with severe injuries, unless it’s a car accident, it’s very hard to prove who is at fault,” Mr Hume said.
But he added these issues may be a thing of the past if the Federal Government introduces a National Disability Insurance Scheme.
“(Prime Minister) Kevin Rudd said the Productivity Commission was going to do a report,” Mr Hume said.
“It would be a great thing.
“It would help people further their education, rather than just provide employment assistance.”
Additionally, the way people with disabilities are cared for, Mr Hume said, was on the upcoming Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting.
“When you get discharged from hospital the state government runs your home care and it varies from state to state,” he said.
“The COAG is looking at bringing in one standard nationwide; this would mean more choice for the individual.
“A more consumer-run industry.”
Mr Hume, who will next year start a Property and Sustainable Development degree at Bond University, said people with disabilities need to have more say in their own lives.
“I think people with a disability need to be heard and make their own choices,” he said.
“Most of the decision makers don’t have a disability and it’s hard for them to fathom what it’s like.”
Mr Hume, a Coolangatta lad, had to move with his mum and younger brother to a wheelchair-friendly home in Palm Beach after he left the hospital.
Since his accident, Mr Hume has spoken to more than 6000 students about spinal injuries, and is today talking at Banora Point High School.