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LISA... is a parent support and lobby group, for parents and families with a family member having an intellectual or multiple disability, and living in a supported accommodation group home in the State of Victoria, Australia.
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Disability Sector Ignored by Media

Open Letter to Jon Faine, ABC Radio, 19 February 2015

Dear Jon,

Disabled ignored by the Jon Faine program – and media generally.

Your enthusiasm in addressing a myriad of high profile issues ranging from red tape, frozen berries, TAFE and private training providers is to be commended. 

Your willingness to highlight the many inquires or investigations announced by the Andrews government, is also to be commended. However, this is in contrast to the fact that you have virtually ignored anything to do with the disability sector.

Recent inquires or investigations addressed by your program include:

  • The CFA’s Fiskville training establishment,
  • Family violence
  • The Lost Dogs’ Home
  • The Greyhound Industry, and now
  • Short Term Stay accommodation

Yet – A Parliamentary Inquiry into abuse and violence and other issues in the disability sector announced by the government as a pre-election promise in November 2014, is now seemingly not urgent.  It has totally missed your radar as has the current investigation into the disability sector being undertaken by Victoria’s Ombudsman and also the recently announced Senate Inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect in disability residential facilities.

Perhaps you may be interested to know that:

  • Deaths in care occur on an average of five people being reported as dying in disability residential facilities each week.
  • Abuse and Neglect reported by the Public Advocate, in the Community Visitors 2014 Annual Report calling for an inquiry into abuse and neglect in the disability sector suggesting it is just the “the tip of the iceberg”.
  • The Yooralla saga of reported rapes continues while there has been no call by programs such as yours for the Board’s sacking or a specific investigation into that organisation
  • The Disability Services Commissioner refusing to, and not having conducting a single investigation in six years, despite the Disability Act providing the authority to do so and including a “must” clause.
  • The Public Advocate calling for an inquiry but not initiating any such review, inquiry or investigation herself
  • Funded disability Service providers failing to deal in a respectful way with families of people with disabilities

Jon - The disability sector is in a mess and yet the Government remains silent.  

It would be great if you were to establish a forum and invite Minister Foley, Ombudsman Glass, Public Advocate Pearce and Disability Services Commissioner Harkin to face the music.  Given the obvious violence, abuse and neglect occurring in the disability sector, media programs like yours must take up the challenge.  After all you have been quick to take up the issue of the Bali two, young people in nursing homes, mental health and of course lost dogs and grey hounds. People with disabilities and their families deserve to at least to be put ahead of dogs. 

What about some equal air play and focus?  Why not invite the Public Advocate onto your program every now and again?  You regularly have the Lord Mayor and the Police Commissioner.

Since the sad passing of Stella Young, disability seems to have become a blind spot on your radar.  I trust you will rectify this and take the government to task.

Kind regards

Max Jackson (Former CEO Kew Cottages)

Unit 1/98 Wells Street


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