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Come clean on sheltered workshops, mr Howe



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COMMONWEALTH

par liam entary library MICAH

RAY BR AITH W AITE, M .H.R. FEDERAL MEMBER FOR DAWSON PARLIAMENT O F A U S T R A L IA

MIADO'vV MINISTER FOR COMMUNITY F IO LS E O F REPRESENTATIVES

SERI ICES AND -\GED CARE

COME CLEAN ON SHELTERED WORKSHOPS, MR HOWE

Mr Ray Braithwaite, Shadow Minister for Community Services and Aged Care once again called on the Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services to state clearly and unequivocally whether he intends to fund sheltered workshops.

Mr Braithwaite was presenting a Private Member's Bill to

Parliament, proposing amendments to the Disability Services Act.

The amendments provide for:

* the inclusion of sheltered workshops as an approved service for funding;

* extension of the transition date for implementation of the Disability Services Act from 1992 to 1995;

* the scrutiny of the Act's Principles and Guidelines by Parliament;

* inclusion of an appeals procedure;

* addition of staff training services and vocational training services as approved services for funding.

Mr Braithwaite said that if the Government proceeds on its course to close sheltered workshops, it will be denying many people with disabilities the right to work, the right to training, the right to gaining living skills - and the right to choice.

'It will be sentencing them to an existence of boredom and

frustration at home, with the consequent stresses on their families and carers - simply to satisfy its own socialist

ideologies', said the Shadow Minister.

'Some sheltered workshops have been forced to close down already because of lack of commitment and assistance from the Government, even though the Government has promised repeatedly that no service will be closed.

Mr Braithwaite gave as an example the sheltered workshop operated by the Nambucca & District Branch of the Challenge Foundation of NSW.

This workshop has just suspended its services because it is unable to meet its growing debts.

P.O. Box 714, M ackay, Qld. 4740 - 3rd Floor, Suncorp Building, 123 Victoria St,, Mackay Ph: (079) 57 6411/57 8329 Facsimile: (079) 57 2136 Parliam ent House C anberra - Ph: (062) 77 4218 Facsimile: (062) 77 2065

'This is the position in which sheltered workshops around the country find themselves. The government is cutting down on funding and on backfilling, thus making the workshops unviable.'

This Labor Government is just not giving people a choice.

'On disability services, it has refined procrastination, changing the goal posts, re-allocating officers within the Department, and debilitating delays, to an art form.'

Mr Braithwaite promised that a Coalition Government would listen to people with disabilities, to their advocates, to their parents, and to the coluntary and charitable organisations who provide the services - and give them a choice.

'This is what proper social justice is about', said Mr

Braithwaite.

Canberra, 12 September 1991 Inquiries: (06) 277 4218