Disability group homes could go the way of aged care homes if the Morrison government does not act on the risk.
Sadly, Melbourne and Sydney have seen the fatalities that followed federal chaos and bungling in the aged care sector.
As Melbourne grapples with a coronavirus second wave, I hold grave fears for Melburnians with disability including residents of the 720 group homes across the city.
Despite being similarly vulnerable to the elderly if exposed to COVID-19, the needs of Australians with disability have been neglected during this pandemic.
The second class treatment of Australians with disability, and the people who care for them, extends to:
- NO WORKFORCE retention bonus for disability workers
- NO GUARANTEED priority virus testing
- INSUFFICIENT personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves from the national stockpile to people with disability and disability service providers
- LACK of a proper national paid pandemic leave scheme, including for disability workers
- NO UNIFORM pandemic training or standards for the disability workforce
- BLANKET refusal by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to publish locations of COVID-19 outbreaks in disability facilities.
As with aged care, disability workers move frequently between work locations and provide close-contact care.
This is a ticking time bomb of infection.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NDIS Minister Stuart Robert must take immediate action to mitigate risk and reassure the disability sector they have a plan for Australian with disability and the frontline workforce they rely on.