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Wilkie welcomes Government backdown on Matthew Pearce.

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Kim Wilkie MP Federal Member for Swan

MEDIA STATEMENT AUGUST 9, 2006 WILKIE WELCOMES GOVERNMENT BACKDOWN ON MATTHEW PEARCE “I am delighted that Minister Hockey has finally intervened to ensure that my constituent, Matthew Pearce, will receive the Disability Support Pension to which he is clearly entitled,” said Kim Wilkie, Federal Member for Swan. “The Government must now provide a guarantee to all Australian families that the experiences of the Pearce family will never be repeated. “When my office was contacted by the Pearce family about the treatment to which Matthew had been subjected, I was horrified.” Two weeks ago, 16-year-old Matthew of Carlisle left hospital in a wheelchair with a gastro-nasal feeding tube after leukaemia treatment. He was required to attend a work capability assessment the following day at Advanced Personnel Management in West Perth. Upon arriving at the building, Matthew and his mother found that there was no obvious wheelchair access and Matthew was only able to enter the premises with the help of two policemen. “This appalling state of affairs was further compounded when Matthew was told that he was not eligible to receive the Disability Pension because, according to Centrelink, leukaemia is not a permanent disability. “I cannot believe that Government policy subjects severely sick people to this sort of inhumane treatment. “Matthew’s medical condition clearly means that he is unable to work and the insensitivity which Advanced Personnel Management demonstrates in their failure to provide clear wheelchair access to their building raises serious questions about their fitness to operate as an agency of Centrelink. “The trauma which Matthew and his family has experienced - on top of the distress caused by his ill health - is unacceptable. “Unfortunately this Government has shown that it is out of touch with the community in imposing draconian policies, all too often meted out by officious and unfeeling departments and agencies,” said Mr Wilkie. For further information: • Kim Wilkie - 0407 513 245/(02) 62 772255