NAPTHINE SECOND ATTEMPT AT FEE HIKE ON DISABILITY SERVICES

Posted on 31. Oct, 2013 in News

The Napthine Government will use its numbers to ram through legislation in Parliament designed to increase the fees paid by residents living in Victoria’s state-run residential disability accommodation.

Shadow Minister for Disability Services, Danielle Green, said the legislation, introduced without warning yesterday, seems designed to circumvent the issues that forced the Napthine Government’s back-down on its last attempt to raise fees on some 2100 of the state’s most vulnerable citizens.

“Last time the Government tried this they were taken to VCAT. This legal action along with huge community outcry forced the Napthine Government into an embarrassing back down. Now Mr Napthine is trying to ram it through by legislative means,” Ms Green said.

“This is a blatant cash grab that targets severely disabled residents living in state care, many of whom don’t have families fighting on their behalf, many are wards of the state.

“Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge should hang her head in shame for trying not once, but twice to put her hand in the pocket of Victorians who can’t afford these fee hikes, let alone have the capacity to speak out about it.

“Ms Wooldridge’s press statement foreshadowed the Napthine Government’s intention to again access residents’ federal rent assistance payments in their entirety.”

Ms Green said Ms Wooldridge’s actions had raised the ire of advocates representing the residents and employees.

“Just like last time, Ms Wooldridge is going about this through the backdoor and avoiding proper process,” Ms Green said.

“Ms Wooldridge’s release says she has consulted broadly, but none of the residents, their families or the groups that represent them had been contacted prior to this legislation’s introduction.

“HACSU, the union representing workers who care for the affected residents, have similarly been forgotten in Ms Wooldridge’s sham consultation.

“The fact is the Napthine Government is trying to squeeze money out of vulnerable Victorians like these residents and their families because they are wasting money on projects like the dud $8 billion tunnel.

“Mr Napthine and the Liberals always target the most vulnerable. It is shocking that this government not only want to pick their pockets but want to silence them at VCAT as well.

“Mr Napthine was sent a clear message earlier this year that this cash grab is not okay, but here we are again.”

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