No-plan Donnellan leaving Victoria’s disability sector vulnerable to outbreaks

Victoria’s disability sector has once again been caught up in the Andrews Labor Government’s attempts to shift the blame for coronavirus outbreaks in Victoria.

The disability sector has been crying out for assistance for months to make sure the health of vulnerable people and carers is protected.

But it’s August and the Andrews Government is still side-tracked by petty politics and failing to detail its plan for a safe way forward that’s desperately needed for Victoria’s disability sector.

Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan owes the sector an explanation on what he did to avoid outbreaks in State-run and funded SRS facilities and his plan to prevent them in the future. We are months into this crisis and the Minister’s claim he ‘wrote a letter’ to the Federal Government in April just doesn’t make the cut, when it comes to the response that was required.

Mr Donnellan claimed today the Commonwealth refused Victoria’s requests for help, despite Federal Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme Stuart Robert confirming just a week ago that they’d been working with Victoria on a response.

Mr Robert told ABC Radio National on August 11: “It’s a little complex, but it is actually very clear between the Victorian Government and the Commonwealth Government how it runs. Minister Donnellan and I were speaking this morning. We’ve got representatives on their rapid response group, so we all know who’s responsible for what.”

Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Carers and Disability, Tim Bull

Supported Residential Service (SRS) facilities are at the frontline of providing care for the most vulnerable in our community, including residents with mental health, intellectual disability, acquired brain injury, chronic health conditions and complex behaviours.

The Victorian Minister’s response to the crisis in SRS facilities is that he wrote a letter to the Federal Minister four months ago. Surely he did more than simply write a letter, these facilities are his responsibility.

Operation of SRS facilities lies squarely with the Victorian Government. Luke Donnellan needs to explain what action he actually took to prevent an outbreak in SRS facilities.

Given the Commonwealth has been a formal member of the Disability Rapid Response Group since July 29, the Minister needs to stop playing a blame game and tell us what he actually did when the alarm bells rang.

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