Group fears disaster for disability services

WORRYING: Graham Burgess chairs the first meeting of the group, raising the various concerns of the lobby group formed to fight aspects of NDIS.  Picture: Brock Perk
WORRYING: Graham Burgess chairs the first meeting of the group, raising the various concerns of the lobby group formed to fight aspects of NDIS. Picture: Brock Perk


 


 

 A HUNTER lobby group formed to fight aspects of the National Disability Insurance Scheme says the state government’s plan to stop providing disability services after 2018 will be a disaster for people with intellectual disabilities.

About 30 people met at Adamstown Bowling Club yesterday for the first meeting of the Hunter Disability Support Group.

Spokeswoman Carol Yarovy said group members included the families of people receiving state government disability services – including Stockton Centre and group home residents – and past and present employees of the government’s Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) agency.

Public Service Association organiser Paul James said the union had helped to establish the group and was providing some help – such as printing campaign material – but the support group was an independent body making its own decisions.

Ms Yarovy, who retired recently after a long career with the government as a disability worker, said it was wrong to disrupt the lives of people who were already receiving first-rate care.

‘‘The more we look into it, the worse it gets,’’ Ms Yarovy said.

Graham Burgess, whose concerns with the NDIS were reported in Monday’s Newcastle Herald, said taxpayers should be concerned that hundreds of millions of dollars worth of public property would be given to private operators under the privatisation or ‘‘transfer’’ of ADHC services.

 Gloria Davey of Maryland, who has a relative in an ADHC group home, was one of a number of people to ask what would happen when ADHC was no longer the carer of ‘‘last resort’’.

‘‘People think the NDIS means happy little children with Down syndrome but it’s not all like that, there are people with incredibly violent and challenging behaviours,’’ Ms Davey said.

‘‘What happens when the non-government provider decides they can’t handle the person any more, and it will happen, it happens already.’’

A number of people told the meeting they felt ignored by the state government but a spokesperson for Disability Services Minister John Ajaka said the minister was aware of the views of the PSA and the Stockton Welfare Association.

‘‘In short, the claims being made are generally misleading or incorrect,’’ the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the federal agency running the NDIS, the National Disability Insurance Agency, would be the agency of ‘‘last resort’’.

But Mr James said this was misleading because the NDIA, in its own words, provided ‘‘information, referral and ... connections to services’’.