Victorians with a disability living in state-run residential units are facing massive fee increases as a result of the Napthine Government State Budget, Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney said today.
The 2013 State Budget revealed that a fee increase paid by those already living in Department of Humans Services (DHS) managed disability accommodation services will be used fund an expansion individual support packages (ISPs).
Ms Tierney said the fee increases, which were in the order of 50 per cent and over, were going to make supported accommodation unaffordable for residents in Portland.
“Premier Napthine has outlined an expansion to Victoria’s ISPs, a program that is nationally recognised, but instead of funding it properly, he is slugging people already engaged in supported accommodation,” Ms Tierney said.
“The $44 million fee increase will force people living with a disability to spend the vast majority of their disability support pension on maintaining their DHS accommodation, leaving next to nothing for essentials like toiletries and clothing.
“What this means is that in some cases an individual will have their rent cost increased from $10691.72 to $17,505.15 a year.
“Many people who were hoping to stay in supported accommodation, or were hoping to apply for supported accommodation in the future, simply won’t be able to afford it.
“Mr Napthine says he is building for growth, but in order to expand ISPs he is burdening those who can least afford it.”
Ms Tierney said that rather than supporting the principles of universality behind the NDIS, Mr Napthine and his Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge, have betrayed these residents by raiding their disability pension.
“Ms Wooldridge has moved on from slapping fines on mothers affected by past adoption practices to slugging 2,500 of Victoria’s most vulnerable to the tune of $44 million,” Ms Tierney said.
“If that’s not enough Ms Wooldridge has also slashed the Aids and Equipment budget in
half and after funding the launch of the NDIS, there is absolutely no extra funding in the budget for the disability sector.
“You simply can’t trust Denis Napthine and the Liberal Government to invest in better care for vulnerable Victorians.
“The Government urgently needs to backtrack on its plans and provide real support to Victorian’s with a disability and their families.”