Pauline Nutley has a son who suffers from cerebral palsy, and wants to know more about the NDIS.
Pauline Nutley has a son who suffers from cerebral palsy, and wants to know more about the NDIS. Christopher Chan

Mum of disabled son has bold plans for Gladstone housing

PAULINE Nutley is apologetic.

"I don't think I've prepared enough," the Calliope mother tells me before our interview last week.

Her 35-year-old son Lee Nutley, who has cerebral palsy, is still in bed but can be heard momentarily calling for his dogs to come back in the room.

"They keep him company," she said.

Lee returned home from independent housing for people with a disability in Rockhampton.

He was taken out of the home after claims he was beaten up by another disabled man he was living with.

Pauline is happy to have her son at home, and Lee is happy to be out of shared housing and with his dogs.

But the arrangement can't go on.

"I love him with all my heart but he can't be living with me when I'm 69 or 79," Pauline said.

"There needs to be a local alternative."

Pauline is already drafting her master plan for new disability services in Gladstone.

Part of her proposal includes building housing for the disabled, which will double as a tourism drawcard for the Gladstone region.

"If I won lotto, I'd do it tomorrow...money is a factor, yes," she said.

Her plan is simple: to occupy a piece of land and build independent living and recreational quarters for those with disabilities.

The facility would also hold tourism drawcards for the Gladstone region with a function room or courtyard that could host weddings and high teas.

Her son would live on site, with other people with similar disabilities, and would have the opportunity to work.

Whether it was in the function room, in the cafe washing dishes or picking herbs, the centre would give back to those who Pauline claims have been distanced from society.

"They are already a burden to their bodies, and the government makes it worse by taking money from the able-bodied people," Ms Nutley said.

"They are perfectly capable and have never been allowed to shine or show what they are capable of."

Pauline has since spoken to Gladstone MP Liz Cunningham, who will bring her plan to the State Government.

Last week Premier Campbell Newman announced Queensland's commitment to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The concerned mother just wants the government to do something.

"I just want to know what the NDIS will mean for us," Pauline said.

Lee was born with cerebral palsy and a mild intellectual disability.

What is the NDIS?

It was adopted by the Queensland government on May 7, 2013. The NDIS will provide a funding-based assessment of the need, instead of historical budgets allocations.

How will it affect my family?

An increase to the Medicare Levy by 0.5% from July 1 2014, which will mean an increase from 1.5% to 2%.

What is DisabilityCare?

DisabilityCare will be rolled out from July 2016, where 97,000 Queenslanders with disabilities will be covered. By 2019-20 Queensland will provide $2.03 billion and the Federal Government $2.14 billion.