Wednesday, 19 October 2005
Neagle Eyes Norwood
ANOTHER footballer is considering standing in Norwood at the upcoming state election.
Former Norwood utility Rick Neagle might join ex-Crow Nigel Smart in the contest.
If he stands, Mr Neagle would run under the Dignity for the Disabled banner.
“I really want to run, but that doesn’t mean I will.”
The 43-year-old Dulwich physiotherapist’s decision rests with group organiser and former Glenelg footballer David Holst.
Mr Holst has not yet decided whether to register Dignity for the Disabled as a political party or whether to run candidates in the election, but Mr Neagle said he expected decisions on the group’s future to be made next month.
He became involved with the group because of his five-year-old autistic son Mitchell.
“But it’s not just about Mitchell – it’s more about how I am,” he said.
“I’ve always been concerned about social justice.”
One of Mr Neagle’s main concerns is the lack of funding in SA for people with disabilities.
“We need $100 million over four years to bring funding up to interstate standards, which would be an increase of 70 per cent.
“A lot of people move to other states, like Queensland, where the level of funding is higher.
“Therapy for an autistic child can cost up to $30,000 a year and sadly, people in lower socio-economic groups can’t afford to pay that.
“The government doesn’t seem to realise that if it spent more on early intervention, they would save a lot in the long term. Without help, a lot of these kids end up on welfare down the track.”
Mr Neagle said caring for a disabled child was a “full-time commitment” for a family.
“It’s hard work and it never stops,” he said.
“But it’s a full-time enjoyable commitment.”
He said Mitchell, seven-year-old daughter Taylah and wife Tricia would always come first.
“If anything changed the structure of our life, I would not do it.”
Rick Neagle played for Norwood between 1980 and 1987 and now acts as team physiotherapist.