MEDIA RELEASE - Politicians fail young Aussies with disabilities

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Today marks one year of government inaction since a Senate inquiry delivered 12 recommendations into improving the lives of young Australians with disabilities.

With the Federal election just over a week away, Youngcare Chief Executive Officer Sam Kennerley called for both sides of politics to demonstrate their leadership by delivering concrete policies that will help the 7000 young Australians currently forced to live in aged care homes.

“It’s been a year since the Senate community affairs committee delivered its recommendations but nothing has changed,” Mrs Kennerley said.

“The inquiry made only 12 proposals, most of which were not complicated or expensive. We just need our Parliamentary representatives to get the job done.”

The inquiry recommended the Federal Government compile a database of all young Aussies under the age 65 living in residential aged care homes so that current, relevant information was available to ensure they and their families received support.

“It’s ridiculous that, less than a week away from the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS),  the inquiry’s recommendation to appoint advocates for young Aussies in aged care homes has still not been done,” Mrs Kennerley said.

“There is a danger that people with high care needs in aged care homes could miss out on the NDIS.”

Other recommendations from the Senate inquiry into the Adequacy of existing residential care arrangements available for young people with severe physical, mental or intellectual disabilities in Australia included:

– A new system to ensure young people in residential aged care were intensively case managed and reviewed annually.

– New accreditation rules for residential aged care facilities to include health and lifestyle outcomes for younger people.

– COAG establishing a joint task force for young people living in residential care to assist access to housing, health, transport and other services.

Mrs Kennerley also called on governments at all levels to develop national building codes with disability design elements for all new housing to boost the supply of age-appropriate homes for people with disabilities.

These design elements would include widening doorways and corridors to allow free movement between rooms, step-free shower recesses and more.

“Government needs to provide the strong leadership required to bring developers, councils and the community itself to recognise that Australians with high care needs have the same desire as everyone else to live as valued members of their communities,” Mrs Kennerley said.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stuart Sherwin, Sequel PR – 0403 090 914 or 07 3251 8111.

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