The news that a young man with disability had been kept in jail because of a failure to find him appropriate accommodation is absolutely heartbreaking and exposes the failure of our systems to address this issue, Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“It’s another example of how far we have to go in getting the NDIS right and the urgency of addressing indefinite detention of people with cognitive impairments. It’s absolutely unacceptable to have situations like this occurring.
“There are reports of four other people in this situation in Victoria and there are others across Australia. This situation has to be urgently remedied. It’s unacceptable. Most immediately there is a requirement for providers of last resort in all states and territories, the Federal Government should show leadership and ensure that states and territories are addressing this issue immediately.
"We need to address the issue that people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment are ending up in jail in the first place. The Senate Community Affairs committee held an inquiry into indefinite detention of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment and made 32 recommendations addressing issues such as access to justice, the need for disability justice plans, oversight mechanisms, delivery of services, accommodation and acknowledgment of the fact that indefinite detention is unacceptable. The Government is yet to respond to the report.
“As a member of the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS I have been watching key issues very closely as they emerge. We have been hearing a lot from the community about many of the difficulties they face in accessing the NDIS as it rolls out.
"We want people to get access to the Scheme as soon as possible but not to a sub-par Scheme that does not meet the aims of the NDIS.
“I call on the Government and the NDIA to implement the findings of the Productivity Commission and ensure adequate funding for the Scheme and the Senate Committee recommendations.