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Shorten urges awareness of our disabled -

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ELEANOR HALL: The Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities says Australia's treatment of
people with disabilities is a disgrace and a failure of public policy that ranks alongside the
nation's treatment of indigenous people.

Bill Shorten was speaking at the launch of a campaign to help young people who are living in
nursing homes.

It's estimated that 3,500 disabled young people live in nursing homes which are not suited to their

In Melbourne, Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: Grayden Moore is 27 years old. A former junior Australian Open tennis player, his
dreams of turning professional were shattered in a split second when he suffered a catastrophic
skateboarding injury.

Diagnosed with an acquired brain injury, he spent three years in a nursing home where the average
age was 83.

GRAYDEN MOORE: After my first hospital, they sent me to a nursing home instead because they told my
parents I would remain a vegetable for life and never be able to talk or walk again, so any rehab
would be a waste of time and money.

And why did they choose to send me to a nursing home where I was associating with people nearly
triple my age? I don't know why the system would do that to me and fail me like that. Every young
person should get a choice into the place they live and there should be an alternative besides a
nursing home to live at.

ALISON CALDWELL: Grayden Moore was speaking at the launch of a campaign to raise funds from the
public and private sector for young people living in nursing homes.

The Building Better Lives campaign is the brainchild of the Summer Foundation. It wants to raise
$10-million over the next five years.

Speaking at the launch, the Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children, Bill
Shorten, denounced Australia's treatment of people with disabilities as a national failure.

BILL SHORTEN: It is a disgrace of I think the most significant public policy failure. I think it
ranks somewhere near or somewhere alongside, albeit differently, with the treatment of Indigenous

ALISON CALDWELL: Thirty-eight year old Jason Anderson has multiple sclerosis. He considers himself

Facing the prospect of living in a nursing home when his marriage ended, a space became available
for him in an MS house in Williamstown, in Melbourne's inner west.

JASON ANDERSON: In the accommodation that I'm living at, it's pretty much like a pilot I think
because there's a lot of, basically this unit is like our home, my home. So I eat when I want to
eat, I go lie down when I want to lie down, I go out when I want to go out, and that's not the

ALISON CALDWELL: Di Winkler is the CEO of the Summer Foundation. She says there's a significant
risk that funding to develop alternative accommodation options for young people in nursing homes
will stop when the COAG (Council of Australian Governments) funding runs out in 2011.

DI WINKLER: The worst outcome would be at the end of the five years, the Federal Government says
we've had a go at this, we've actually, you've had your turn and that they don't continue this
initiative and then I think 70 people in Victoria will continue to be admitted to age care every
year unless we make sure that doesn't happen.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Di Winkler from the Summer Foundation ending that report by Alison Caldwell.