Disability accomodation

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