Dignity Party Candidate for Kavel Cristina Rodert speaks to Peter Greco on Vision Australia Radio

Peter Greco: Coming up in the last half hour of the program we will speak to Cristina Rodert. Cristina is a candidate for the Dignity Party for the upcoming state election. The 2018 election is coming ever closer and the Dignity Party have a number of candidates who are contesting the election. The seat of Kavel will be contested by the Dignity Party with Cristina Rodert. Cristina thank you for your time.

Cristina Rodert: Thanks for having me Peter.

Peter Greco: how are you feeling a couple of months out getting a bit excited or a bit nervous?

Cristina Rodert: Both

Peter Greco: Why have you decided to put your hand up? You’re running for the seat of Kavel in the hills area of South Australia. Why did decide to do this?

Cristina Rodert: From my involvement in Dignity Party I felt that when I approached Kelly, I have a son with disabilities, he’s 18 now, and when he was 12 years old we had big issues dealing with him and we had a lot of difficulty accessing disability services. So we approached Kelly and she advocated for our family and we were able to access the supports that we needed. So now that Kelly is standing for re-election we are standing to support her, she helped us and I thought it would be our time to support her in her bid for re-election.

Peter Greco: Now you have a number of different issues that you believe need attention, transport is one and access to transport.

Cristina Rodert: Yes, for sure. Especially up here in the hills, the population is growing fast and I think there will be more need for transport. Where we live in Little Hampton, for us to get a direct trip to Adelaide, it’s difficult, there might be a few in the morning, very limited during the day and then in the afternoon hardly any, and during weekends very limited accessible transport for us to get to Adelaide. So, I think that’s one particular area that we can have a look at.

Peter Greco: As you mention you have a son with a disability what about as far as education goes, we’ve spoken to a number of people over the years as parents who’ve got children who are trying to get into the education system, can have a devil of a time trying to find a school or a set of teachers who are going to make sure their child is going to get the best out of their education opportunities.

Cristina Rodert: Yes, so that is one of the issues that we had. We tried to find a school for James, he has just finished year 12 at Errington Education Centre, and he had been to 2 other schools prior to that. We were happy with Errington Education Centre I think they were able to support his needs, but now that he’s finished he’s going through a new phase, it’s the my options, a day options program with Minda and that’s what we’re trying to get funded through the NDIS. We’ve just had a meeting with the NDIS and with Minda, and it seems that so far the funding that James receives for his day options is not sufficient to support his needs. So it’s something that we need to work with the NDIS so that we can get the adequate funding. I think there is some lacking in terms of supporting the needs of the families with the NDIS so it’s something we really need to push forward with.

Peter Greco: So is that the feeling you have so far as the NDIS is concerned that maybe things can be done better? Because one of the things that I’ve heard is that it’s a little bit like a lottery it depends on who you geting in terms of either assessing or your case workers as to what sort of a result comes out of your NDIS experience.

Cristina Rodert: yes, so we tried to include as much information about James in the NDIS plan because my son is really a complex case, he has Down Syndrome and at the same time he is Autistic, he has hearing and speech impairment, so he cannot talk or hear, and at the same time he has these behavioural issues. So there are complex needs that have to be addressed, so hopefully NDIS will be able to look into all those needs and not just put him in a box where that is all we can give to your son; but we will really try our best to be able to get the best outcome for him in terms of funding needs.

Peter Greco: So what’s it like for you as a family then Cristina it must be very challenging and stressful.

Cristina Rodert: Yes it is very challenging and stressful. So our son is 18 years old now, unfortunately because of his challenging behavioural issues we cannot look after him at home anymore, so he is now staying at one of the houses with Minda, and he only comes home once a week, and for us to care for him just for that one night, it’s already challenging for us. So, we try our best to continue that but we can only do so much with our son and we are really grateful for Minda for all the support that they provide James. He has improved so much since he started living at Minda accommodation.

Peter Greco: That’s a good thing to hear.

Cristina Rodert: yes, I really commend the carers at Minda they really supported James, so hats off to all the carers they really are wonderful.

Peter Greco: As you mentioned, you’re in the seat of Kavel, Mark Goldsworthy is the current Member of Parliament but the main focus in a sense for the Dignity Party is to get certainly Kelly Vincent and maybe even Diana Bleby elected into the upper house so that’s a real focus for you as a team.

Cristina Rodert: yes, that is our main focus, our main mission to support her, so we’re just a small party we don’t really have all the resources and finances backing. We all have to work together and the main aim is for Kelly to be re-elected because she’s done such a wonderful job supporting the marginalised and disadvantaged especially those people living with a disability and we really are looking for her to be re-elected and we’re here to support her.

Peter Greco: terrific, Cristina, lovely to talk to you, good luck to you, James and your family and thank you for sharing a little bit of time with us today.

Cristina Rodert: Thanks Peter, thank you very much.

Peter Greco: That was Cristina Rodert who is the candidate for the Dignity Party in the seat of Kavel and we’ll catch up with some more candidates in the next little while.