Disability Services Minister Bob Kucera said the Australian Government has missed an opportunity to support a Western Australian plan to provide appropriate accommodation for young people with disabilities living in aged care nursing homes.
Mr Kucera said the plight of these young people was an issue of national concern and he put a proposal to the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, but it was ignored.
“Nationally there are more than 6,000 people with disabilities under the age of 65 living in aged care nursing homes and at least 1,000 of these people are aged under 50,” he said.
“We all agree this is unacceptable and that aged care nursing homes are not equipped to meet the long-term needs of many of these people.
“Our Young People in Nursing Homes program, set up a decade ago, provides $8million a year to support 86 people previously accommodated in aged care nursing homes.
“I asked the Australian Government to put its money where its mouth is and give us $5million a year to help us relocate the remaining 55 young people currently in aged care nursing homes into more appropriate community accommodation.
“In return, we would fund all capital costs, including land and buildings, but Senator Patterson’s only suggestion was to pass the buck to the Federal Minister for Ageing.
“I am deeply disappointed at Senator Patterson’s dismissive attitude, as she failed to give this proposal any support whatsoever.
“This clearly demonstrates the Federal Government’s growing disregard for people with disabilities.
“The States now have to deal with five Commonwealth Ministers on disability, which indicates to me that the Federal approach to disability is disorganised, inefficient and increasingly removed from the reality of the situation.”
Mr Kucera said he would continue to work on ways to help the 55 young Western Australians living in nursing homes.
Minister's office: 9213 7000