KYD-X (Kids and Youth Disability Expo) Official Opening

Speech opening the Kids and Youth Disability Expo
October 15, 2016

Good morning KYD-X!!  I’m Kelly Vincent, Dignity for Disability’s member of the Legislative Council.  I acknowledge that we meet today on Kaurna land.  It’s a pleasure to be able to open this event, because it feels like such a welcoming and positive day to have fun and find out more about how we can all create the inclusive future we want.  I acknowledge the Minister for Disabilities, the Honourable Leesa Vlahos.

Dignity for Disability is a small, South Australian based political party and I am the sole elected representative so far.  We hold regular fundraisers to support our election campaigns, and I will be up for re-election in 2018.  Since I was elected to Parliament in 2010, I have been inundated by constituents seeking advocacy on every issue you can imagine – mostly relating to disability in some way.  I should point out that my work covers the full gamut of portfolio areas, and that as an upper house MP I represent the whole of South Australia.

I understand the daily battles that family carers of children with disabilities face.  I think that what Ben Waechter, a parent who was frustrated by a lack of information, has pulled together here is nothing short of incredible.  And I want to honour the commitment of people, who like Ben, see something that needs doing and just get out there and make it happen.

This action and initiative will surely make a positive impact towards improving the lives of South Australians with disabilities.

Advocacy is to me a form of literacy, and it’s something that matters a great deal in my work with my constituents.  Having some knowledge around what to do when things are not right, “complaint literacy” if you like, is really important and not something that everyone knows how to go about.  Today there will be lots of information, and I hope that you will make new contacts to help you along in your journey with your child or young person.

Every day, as a member of parliament, I am contacted by people in crisis – often due in part to the disproportionate chunk of their lives people with disabilities spend battling bureaucracy just to gain fair access to the world.  My primary goal is to make myself redundant and this goal will be reached when having a disability in South Australia no longer constitutes a full-time job.

In every sense, I exist in my current position as a member of parliament to ensure that we get the paradigm shift within government which results in a deep understanding of what it does and does not mean to live with a disability, it’s about breaking down those attitudinal barriers.

With those words, and with my thanks again to Ben Waechter and his family and organising team, I am pleased as punch to declare this KYD-X event, officially open!