Ms GARRETT (Brunswick) — I wish to raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Community Services relating to disability care and services for Alexander Curotte, the son of Peter and Paula, who are constituents of mine. The action I seek is an urgent response to the ongoing and significant unresolved matters regarding Alexander. His parents hold grave fears for Alexander’s safety given his long history of traumatic injury while he has been a resident in his current accommodation, a place manifestly unsuited to his needs. Mr Curotte has multiple physical, intellectual and cognitive impairments and is severely autistic. He has just turned 29. I again draw the minister’s attention to the lengthy and detailed SAL Consulting report, which deals with Alexander’s situation in precise detail and makes clear recommendations for the provision of clinically informed future support. The SAL report was commissioned by the Department of Human Services (DHS) in late 2010.
To date the department has given no written response to Alexander’s parents regarding the implementation of these recommendations.
In concluding her response regarding Alexander’s care during the adjournment debate on 12 September 2012, the Minister for Community Services said:
- As I said, we are very aware of the complexity of the needs of Alex and the concerns of his parents. We are working to develop a longer term plan. Given the extent of his needs and the complexity of his disabilities this is not a straightforward process. However, we certainly seek to achieve the objective of his parents, which is safety for him, long-term accommodation in the Bendigo region so he can be close to where his parents reside, and obviously maximising his opportunities and safety for the years ahead.
Two years have since elapsed, and Alexander continues to reside in unsuitable accommodation. Alexander is at constant risk of falling onto unprotected concrete due to his hemiplegia, has swallowing difficulties, frequently sustains bruises and lacerations, has impaired vision and spends most of his time sitting in a chair watching a television set which is mounted high on a wall and encased in a metal cage. Alexander has no access to a kitchen and cannot help himself to a drink or a snack without attracting the attention of a staff member. He has very limited access to a vehicle despite his delight in nature and love of the greater Bendigo area and meeting with his friends and family.
Through their tireless work and love for their son, Alex’s parents have assembled a team of highly skilled specialised allied health clinicians and medical professionals to provide optimum health care for Alexander. In addition, they are in close consultation with an accredited potential accommodation and care provider in Bendigo. Nonetheless, his parents have been informed by DHS regional managers that no transitional funding is available to facilitate the move. Sadly the matter now seems to be at an impasse, while Alexander’s wellbeing continues to be at risk in his current accommodation. I seek the minister’s urgent intervention in this matter and her advice as to what assistance is being given to Alexander and his family to allow him to move to Bendigo, where he can live a safer, fuller life, and where he can be expected to receive this sort of care and accommodation he deserves.
Hansard, 18 September 2014