A MT EVELYN mother has welcomed the federal government's $1 billion commitment to the National Disability Insurance Scheme over the next four years.
Treasurer Wayne Swan announced the scheme when unveiling the federal budget last Tuesday.
Beginning in July next year, the NDIS will take care of 10,000 people with disabilities, starting with four launch sites that are yet to be determined. By 2014, up to 20,000 will receive assistance.
Carol Wheeler, whose 21-year-old son Shaun suffers from autism, told the Weekly last week she has been "waiting his entire life" for such a scheme.
"For us every day is like Groundhog Day," she said. "Every time we have been offered help or told we are eligible for help in the past it has been ripped away."
Although Shaun gets a disability pension, Ms Wheeler receives minimal outside support other than daily respite from Melba Support Care Services in Mt Evelyn and four hours a fortnight from Yarra Ranges Council.
Since Shaun was born, the devoted single mother has been his full-time carer.
His autistic episodes have become more ingrained as he has grown older and their home remains in disarray.
"We've got no carpet, curtains and barely any furniture. The little stuff we do have Shaun usually breaks when he is frustrated or excited."
Melba Support Services chief executive officer Glenn Foard said the Wheeler family's situation was not atypical.
"The thing with disability is that it can happen to anyone at any stage in their life," he said. "
What is needed for Shaun's family, and many other families affected by disability, is respite and support, because for many family members this is a constant, 24-hour job."
He said Melba Support Services would continue to lobby the state and federal government to highlight Yarra Ranges as an ideal location for the program.