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Tuesday, 26 November 1985
Page: 2227

Senator COONEY —My question is directed to the Minister for Community Services. Will the residential hostel accommodation at Glen Waverley Rehabilitation Centre be closed at or before the end of December 1985? If not, is it to be closed later, and if so when? If it is to be closed, what will happen to clients presently residing there and to those needing accommodation in the future? Is there presently any specific accommodation, other than that provided at Glen Waverley, for disabled people, including quadriplegics, paraplegics and those with severe brain damage, who require the services provided by the Glen Waverley Centre?

Senator GRIMES —No, the residential accommodation at Glen Waverley will not be closed by the end of December this year. No firm date for the closure has been set. However it is intended, as I have announced previously, that the closure will occur as soon as alternative suitable accommodation for clients is secured. I hope that this will be in early 1986. The majority of residential clients will be completing their programs before Christmas and appropriate arrangements will be made to meet the accommodation needs of those clients whose programs are not completed by that time. Future non-hostel, community-based alternative accommodation will be secured, as it has been secured in Taringa and Townsville in Queensland and in South Australia. The simple fact is that most clients attending Glen Waverley do not require assistance with accommodation. For those who do, and depending on the specific needs of clients, approximately 12 clients can be accommodated in houses and flats at Glen Waverley. Steps are being taken to identify additional community-based accommodation which will be available in the area.

The experience of other rehabilitation centres is that community-based accommodation is more effective in that if we are to rehabilitate people to live in the community it is sensible that the accommodation they have during that rehabilitation be within that community. A final factor, well known to anyone who has knowledge of the rehabilitation area, is that of cost. The cost of maintaining people in the residences that have been maintained in our rehabilitation centres has exceeded by far the cost of putting such people up in expensive hotels, and in one centre it would have been cheaper to send the people to Hawaii for a fortnight than to keep them in the centre. So for good rehabilitation practices and for economic reasons we are closing the residential accommodation in our rehabilitation centres.