Disability services: Bundoora resident

I wish to raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Community Services, and the action I seek is that she ensure that Mr Alexander Curotte, a resident of a community residential unit (CRU) in Bundoora who is currently hospitalised as a result of serious self-inflicted injuries, is released to a safe environment and not returned to his existing accommodation, which has proven over a decade to be an unsafe place for him to reside.

Alexander is 27 years old and suffers from profound autism which has required him to be in permanent care since late 1996. His parents reside in my electorate, and he is supported by a large and loving extended family.

I, along with my colleague the member for Yan Yean, the shadow minister for disability services, met with Alexander’s family this week after receiving a series of emails outlining their grave concerns about his deteriorating situation. This correspondence contains details of Alexander’s injuries, including a broken leg, broken elbow and bruises of different ages all over his body and head. The correspondence includes photographic and video confirmation of these injuries. These emails were also sent to the minister and her department, so I am sure that she is aware of the seriousness of Alexander’s situation.

Alexander’s parents are of the firm view that the concrete structure and metal protrusions that form part of the facility at Bundoora are the major contributing factors to his ongoing injuries. The set-up at the facility is also hampering Alexander’s quality of life as his family are forced to visit him through a window while they stand outside in the elements.

While the Curottes are very grateful for the financial contribution from the state in assisting with Alexander’s much-needed care, they believe the resources would be better used in a building of safer construction — probably timber with some space around it. The Curottes’ view was strongly supported by a 90-page independent report by SAL Consulting, commissioned by the department in late 2010, which found that Alexander should be relocated from his current accommodation due to its impact on his ongoing injuries.

Mr and Mrs Curotte are deeply distressed by their son’s circumstances. This distress has been compounded as late as this afternoon when they were informed by Northern Hospital that Alexander will be discharged at 10.00 a.m. tomorrow, despite the fact that he fainted in the arms of staff. Mrs Curotte wrote about her meeting with the hospital regarding Alexander’s discharge in an email to me this afternoon. She said:

I expressed my fear that he would very likely return with a serious injury or die.

She said that the hospital’s acting CEO acknowledged this. She went on to say that she and her husband are:

… appalled, disgusted and extremely frightened.

On behalf of this caring and deeply distraught family I ask the minister to act to ensure that Alexander is not released from hospital to the existing Bundoora CRU but is instead provided with a safe alternative environment. The Curotte family has longstanding strong links in central Victoria and the Bendigo region and is asking the government to explore options for accommodation for their son in these areas as a matter of urgency.

Hansard, 2013