ARROGANT NAPTHINE FORCED TO BACK OFF ON DISABILITY FEE HIKES

Posted on 06. Sep, 2013 in News

The Napthine Government has bowed to public pressure, today reversing its decision to massively increase rents on people with disabilities living in state-run residential services, Disability Services Shadow Minister Danielle Green said today.

Ms Green said the backflip was the result of a long campaign by the families of those who were to be affected, as well as community and advocacy groups.

“This is a big win for the residents, their families and their advocates,” Ms Green said.

“It vindicates what the community has been saying for months – residents simply couldn’t have afforded these massive, unfair fee hikes.

“The Government’s backflip only came after VCAT ruled against it and the cracks started to appear in a policy designed to gouge money from those who could least afford it.

“Denis Napthine and Mary Wooldridge were forced into this humiliating backdown because they refused to listen.

“When the people affected and their families came to Parliament, the Government refused to listen.

“When they wrote to the Premier and the Minister, they didn’t budge – It was only when VCAT ruled in favour of the 2000 claimants last week that Ms Wooldridge was forced to admit the fee increases were unjust and unworkable.”

Ms Green said the spotlight was now firmly on the Napthine Government’s other funding commitments in disability services.

“Today there has finally been some common sense from the Government, but Labor will be ensuring this doesn’t spell the end of the 720 individual support packages (ISPs) that were linked to the fee increase,” she said.

“When she announced the massive fee in this year’s state budget, Mary Wooldridge said revenue from the hike would fund the promised new ISPs.

“But the backflip has blown a $107 million hole in this commitment and Ms Wooldridge needs to explain how these packages will now be funded.

“It will be a slap in the face for those waiting for an ISP if the Minister’s incompetent handling of fee increases means that 720 fewer people can access care they have been promised.”

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