I am very supportive of the National Disability Insurance Scheme but I have grave concerns about the NSW Government’s decision to remove the safety net of public sector care for people with profound developmental disabilities.
Under the NDIS (NSW Enabling) Bill 2013, the NSW Government legislated to move disability care out of the public sector by 2018 and into the hands of not-for-profit providers.
While care in the community is the preferred option for the vast majority of people with disabilities, the legislation made inadequate provision for high-dependency clients of residential care facilities. Many of these people have complex care needs that can only be properly catered for in an institutional setting. Indeed, many have tried community-based care, only to return to residential care because their needs could not be adequately met using other care models.
In the Hunter Region there are three residential facilities – Stockton in Newcastle, Tomaree in Port Stephens and Kanangra at Morisset in the Lake Macquarie electorate. They can collectively house several hundred clients.
The underlying tenet of the NDIS is to provide people with a disability a choice about their care, but there is one important choice that this government has taken away, and that is the choice to stay in public sector care.
I will continue to lobby the State Government to remain in the disability sector as a provider of last resort for people with high-dependency needs who choose to remain in residential care.