Friday 7th August 2020
Australian Greens Disability Rights and Services spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John said a failure to learn from the mistakes made during the first wave of COVID-19 and take action to protect disabled people is putting lives at risk in Victoria.
Senator Steele-John said both the Morrison and Andrews governments had failed to listen to disabled people, our families, advocates and organisations since the very beginning of the pandemic and that inaction had led to a surge in cases linked to residential disability services.
"Disabled people, our families, advocates and organisations have been calling for greater access to information and personal protective equipment (PPE), tailored support and more training for workers in the sector since March and the response from government has been woefully slow," Steele-John said.
"It is absolutely astounding to me that almost a quarter of disability workers in Victoria have still not received appropriate training with regards to infection control and that many have been forced to buy their own PPE despite assurance from government that this. would be provided to essential workers.
"The disability sector, including the more than 800 residential group homes across Victoria, is at a significant risk of repeating the COVID-19 trends we are seeing right now throughout the aged care sector if urgent action is not taken.
"Like the aged care sector, our workforce is highly casualised and the reality is that there is a significant crossover of workers who often travel between settings and individual's homes.
"There is also a significant lack of oversight, especially in residential facilities, where residents have been locked in without access to their usual supports and sometimes even their families.
"The Morrison and Andrews governments have failed to take action on the issues that disabled people have repeatedly raised about COVID-19 and a a result our communities, especially those in Victoria, are at risk."
STEELE-JOHN - Tim Oliver; 0448 316 387