Health Community facilities | June 01, 2017

Disability privatisation continues to raise concerns

The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy MP is again calling on the Melbourne Labor Government to provide certainty for those living with a disability, their family members, carers and service staff, as the Government moves to privatise disability homes.

“I continue to be contacted by locals with serious concerns regarding the future of the Carter Street Group Home in Horsham, the Hunts Road Group Home in Haven and the Thomas Street Group Home in Nhill,” Ms Kealy said.

“People living with a disability, their families and service staff are receiving mixed messages about what the future holds for them and their loved ones, causing significant uncertainty and confusion.

“To make matters worse, the Government is holding 23 workshops across Victoria in May and June as part of a Review into Specialist Disability Accommodation, with not one planned for the Lowan electorate.

“The closest workshop for Wimmera residents was held in Ararat on 22 May. I have been told that the few residents who did get advised of the workshop only received the information three days beforehand, making it difficult for them to attend. The next closest workshops are in Ballarat and Bendigo, a 400 km round trip from Horsham, but the information brochure doesn’t even give a date for them.

“The uncertainty and inconsistency emanating from the Minister since the announcement to privatise services is unfair to our local people. This includes not only people living with a disability and their families, but carers and service staff as well”, she said.

Wimmera Group Home services employ over 50 staff, which does not include the indirect businesses and people who support these homes.

“It is unfair that some of the most vulnerable people in our community don’t know where they will be living, who will be caring for them and whether local staff will even have a job once services are privatised,” Ms Kealy said.

“The unknown and possible impacts on our local people are of great concern.

“I am calling on the Minister for Disability, the Hon. Martin Foley to immediately provide an assurance to people living with a disability and their families that they will continue to receive quality disability services and that our local staff will have ongoing employment.

“Everyone in the Lowan electorate is entitled to certainty regarding the future of public disability homes.

“It is a disgrace the Minister will not give this certainty to local people,” she said.

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