Last week I visited a Riding for the Disabled group and witnessed the unique relationship that can develop between horse and rider.
Equally special were the wonderful efforts of trainers, parents, carers and volunteers of all ages that made this whole uplifting and practical experience come together.
What the riders at Hills Riding for the Disabled have achieved reflects their dedication to their craft and their animal but it is also about the existence of an Australia that can provide opportunity, inclusion and support.
The theme of the 2015 International Day of People with Disability on December 3 is inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people with all abilities.
The day, known as I-day, highlights the significant work done by families, organisations, community groups and people with disability themselves to break down barriers to inclusion and opportunity.
It’s a way to reflect on what we have achieved and how far we have to go to create better outcomes for people with disability.
One area where we need significant advancement is in the entrenched unemployment rates of people with disability so they can enjoy the social and economic benefits of a permanent and meaningful job.
A public consultation process is currently underway to help develop a new disability employment framework which will outline ways the government can improve services and support employers in creating fulfilling jobs for people with disability.
Please have your say on the discussion paper so we can better create new opportunities for long term and sustainable jobs for people with disability.
Supporting young people with a mental illness is another important focus and the government is funding trials next year to help young people with a mental illness to continue working or studying.
The government looks forward to working with people with disability, their families and carers to make sure we do everything we can to remove barriers and enable individuals to achieve their potential.
But the lessons of the hundreds of riding groups across Australia is that governments are only a part of the story and all Australians have a role in promoting the inclusion of people with disability.
Enabling requires a whole of community effort but the deep rewards of that effort are all around us when we care to look.
Christian Porter, Federal Minister for Social Services