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Thursday, 21 June 2007
Page: 131

Mr HUNT (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs) (9:57 AM) —I want to refer to the problem faced by ageing carers of children and adult children with intellectual disabilities not only within my electorate of Flinders but throughout Australia. I would like to begin by focusing on an example. I was recently contacted by a mother from Mount Martha who was worried about her 16-year-old daughter, who suffers from a form of Down syndrome. There was an enormous sense of quiet desperation about what would happen when this mother became older and unable to care for her soon to be adult daughter. It is a reflection of a concern and a legitimate anxiety felt by ageing carers and parents throughout the Mornington Peninsula and Western Port, the electorate of Flinders and, I understand, throughout Australia.

The problem is very simple: these parents largely have had to bear the load created by what I regard as a disastrous policy of deinstitutionalisation. The intent was not bad, but the execution carried out at state levels throughout Australia was exceptionally poor. There was no adequate replacement put in situ either for adult day care or assisted living. Local communities have struggled to create assisted living options. Individual day care places which work with adult children with disabilities also struggle to raise capital because, for the most part, the state system in Victoria, and I understand in other states, is woefully inadequate in providing real funding for the capital support that these wonderful community based organisations—such as Wongabeena at Rosebud, in my electorate of Flinders—provide to the community.

Given this failure, my message is very clear. The state system in Victoria must make funding available, firstly, for assisted living clusters as a legitimate way of allowing parents to have a solution for their adult children with disabilities and of providing a sense of hope, dignity and personal integrity and also a way forward for those who suffer from disabilities but who would benefit and would be able to live in and be assisted by precisely this sort of assisted living cluster. Secondly, there should be support in terms of capital for adult day-care centres such as Wongabeena. They raise the money at the moment and they need the support. I commend this proposal to the state. My message is simple: please support local communities and local families as they care for those with disabilities. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. IR Causley)—In accordance with standing order 193, the time for members’ statements has concluded.