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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 134


Mr EVANS (Brisbane) (16:21): I recently visited a house set up and operated by Youngcare in Wooloowin, in my electorate, along with the Youngcare CEO, Anthony Ryan, and the Queensland deputy opposition leader Deb Frecklington. I wish to advise colleagues of some of the things I learnt at the Youngcare house and about the great work that Youngcare does, both in Brisbane and more widely.

Youngcare's mission is to help young people exit or avoid being placed in the aged-care system, which is, unfortunately, an all-too-common outcome in the absence of appropriate housing for young people with high needs due to a disability or similar. Youngcare is working at developing viable models to solve the problem once and for all, giving young people with high needs choice in care and accommodation that they deserve. My experiences with Youngcare have taught me that it is solutions focused. It is trying and finding significant success in connecting industry leaders, government and community to drive much-needed change.

At Youngcare's Wooloowin share house we met with some of the housemates, who showed us some of the innovative and exciting things Youngcare has provided for their high-care needs. The house was light and bright and of high quality. The care being provided by Wesley Mission Queensland was truly commendable. Thanks to Youngcare, the four young residents there are empowered to live with the dignity we all deserve.

Subsequent to my visit I have had further conversations with Youngcare about the urgent need to do more to address the shortage of appropriate housing for people with high-care needs. I want to highlight the opportunity that is presented by the specialist disability accommodation, SDA, funding program which is provided alongside the NDIS but separately funded and assessed. The SDA is intended to help some Australians living with disability who require high levels of support. It is a program that helps to meet the cost of the physical building, including the land that it is situated on, to ensure that there are incentives to construct suitable accommodation and to provide the accommodation to participants in such a way that they do not have to pay more for their homes because of their disability.

Through encouraging conversations and bringing different people together there is an opportunity for us to make further great things happen, which could really help so many more young people who are either already within or at risk of entering the aged-care system at a time when it is inappropriate for them to do so. I want to encourage Youngcare to continue to do the great work that it does for some very vulnerable people in our local community in Brisbane and around Queensland. Equally, I want to take this opportunity to encourage potential providers or investors who are considering the specialist disability accommodation program to contact Youngcare themselves to explore the value that Youngcare could provider in identifying young people in need and helping to form meaningful partnerships to help really solve this problem.