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Paul Healey's letter to Disability members: October


Dear members, 

It's really pleasing to see the COVID-19 numbers continuing to decrease in Victoria. I hope you know that you have played a big part in this, as members of our frontline. On behalf of everyone at HACSU, I'd like to thank you all for your tireless efforts in keeping Victorians safe. 

As you know, we have now collected and analysed the results of our Safety in Disability audit, which over 900 of you completed. Thanks again for your input. We are in the process of sharing this information with organisations such as WorkSafe Victoria and politicians such as Minister for Disability Luke Donnellan. This will ensure that these key decision-makers can be across what's happening in the disability sector and therefore, create a coordinated approach to resolving these urgent issues. We will continue to keep you updated on how we're going. Your safety is our number one priority.

Speaking of WorkSafe, the HACSU team ha been working closely with them, not only in analysing the results of our audit, but also participating in its Community of Practice (CoP). The CoP was established by WorkSafe in partnership with National Disability Services (NDS) for Health and Safety Representatives at disability service organisations. This CoP will meet monthly over coming months to discuss issues and concerns, and share strategies to assist disability services in transitioning to, and operating in, the COVID normal environment. We will continue to keep you updated on when these meetings will be held. I'd like to thank all of our Health and Safety Representatives for all the vital work you're doing in your organisations. I'm hugely passionate about having Health and Safety Representatives in every disability group home, so if you'd like to be one, please get in touch with HACSU Assist or your HACSU Organiser. We need you now more than ever. 

Disability group homes were discussed in the Disability Royal Commission this month. The report found that the closure of large institutions housing people with disability, with the resulting development of group homes, has not eliminated institutional forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation experienced by people with disability. Some group homes have insufficient staff, with a lack of training to deal with high numbers of residents. This 'resulted in abuse between residents, and neglect and a diminished quality of life'. To read the full report, click here.  

As you know, the 2020-21 Federal Budget was handed down earlier this month, with more funding allocated to the NDIS to the tune of a further $3.9 billion. This funding will ensure Australians eligible for the NDIS have access to the supports they need now and into the future. In addition, $800 million will be allocated over four years to the NDIA and NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to ensure participants receive quality supports. 

In terms of what's coming up this month, we have our HACSU Delegates Conference for Disability members on Friday 13th November. We have secured the services of keynote speakers Luke Donnellan, Minister for Disability and Bill Shorten, Shadow Minister for the NDIS. Health Services Union National Secretary Lloyd Williams will also be speaking about some of the outcomes from the Disability Royal Commission. This means you'll get an opportunity to hear directly from some high-level decision-makers directly, so don't miss that opportunity. You will also have access to a multitude of interactive workshops from organisations like Slater & Gordon and ME Bank. Thank you to those who have registered already. If you haven't done so yet, please click here

Once again, I'd like to thank you for all your hard work this month, and for the whole year. Stay safe, take care and look after yourselves.