No News is Bad News for Disabled

  “Kew Cottages Coalition Media Release
www.kew.org.au

Release Date: 20100112

No News is Bad News for Disabled

Brian Walsh, President, Kew Cottages Coalition said today that the failure of a Parliamentary Inquiry on Supported Accommodation to meet its December 2009 Deadline was more bad news for disabled Victorians. 

The Family and Community Services Committee of Inquiry was due to table its Report  during the last session of Parliament (by 15th December 2009). However, the Report was mysteriously delayed at the last minute, and is now expected to be tabled ‘out of session’ during the holiday period.

The ABC TV Stateline in its 4th December program said that the Parliamentary Inquiry was expected to uncover a system in crisis after hearing countless stories of heartache from angry families. Stateline reported on the extraordinary case of Luke Modra, an autistic man who was driven to self-harm after being locked in a small room for hours on end.

Mr. Walsh said that the Brumby Government appears to be trying to sweep the bad news under the carpet where few will see it. Tabling the Disabled Housing Report during the holiday period ensures the Report will be ‘old news’ by the time Parliament resumes on 2nd February.

“It looks like part of a long term pattern of Government propaganda designed to help cover up disability accommodation issues in Victoria”, Mr. Walsh said. For example:

  • In 2003, the Kew Cottages Coalition drew attention to the size of the State Government’s Waiting List for housing for the disabled. The Government responded by waiting until Christmas Eve to release official figures showing over 3000 disabled Victorians were still stuck on the Waiting List.
  • In 2004, an Inquiry by the Public Accounts And Estimates Committee recommended the Department of Human Services examine resource constraints on the range of services needed in each region.  DHS agreed and undertook to implement a new Information System in 2005/6 to improve the process of compiling statewide data of unmet needs of people with a disability. However, over three years later DHS says that it still does not collect statewide data on the Waiting List for Respite Care.
  • In 2005, Dr. Cunningham Dax, Former Chairman of the Victorian Mental Health Authority, called for a judicial inquiry into the sale of of the Crown Lands surrounding the Government’s psychiatric Hospitals, and the Centres for the Intellectually Handicapped, in particular Kew Cottages. The Government responded by waiting until new legislation was being prepared and then changed the Waiting List criteria.
  • In 2008, an all party Parliamentary Inquiry into Public Land Development identified a window of opportunity for the Government to use a small cluster of purpose built facilities at Kew Cottages for “much need disability and respite care”. However, the Government simply ignored the Inquiry’s recommendation, and then proceeded to demolish the Kew Cottages facilities identified by the Inquiry, including 60 respite beds, a medical centre, and a community swimming pool.
Mr. Walsh said, ” This pattern of active neglect helps explain why the Intellectual Disability Waiting list for Housing and Respite Care is in such a bad state in Victoria.”

According to the ABC Stateline program, Mark and Ellen Modra’s autistic son Luke will now have no option but to leave Victoria, and go to NSW in order to find appropriate supported accommodation.

“That is more bad news for intellectually disabled Victorians”, Mr. Walsh said.

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Thank you for your support !


More information: www.kew.org.au


For details on KCC Media Releases please contact:

Brian Walsh,
President,
Kew Cottages Coalition

PO Box 2317
KEW
Victoria 3101
Australia

Reg # A0044698H

M: 0414 979 300
E: admin@kew.org.au


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