The incarceration of a 20-year-old Victorian man with autism and an intellectual disability who fell through the cracks of the NDIS serves a reminder there needs to be a government-run safety net for some of the state’s most vulnerable people, says the Public Service Association of NSW (PSA).
“We have warned that without a properly funded, government-run safety net, some people with disability will end up in the prison system or on the streets,” says PSA General Secretary Stewart Little. “There will always be cases private and community providers won’t take on.”
The ABC’s 7:30 program and website reported a 20-year-old man, Francis, ended up in the Victorian prison system as he was unable to be adequately housed or cared for anywhere else.
“We have heard there are already cases in NSW where people with disability have been sent to prison as there are no alternative options,” says Little. “Yet the Government is actually reducing options for people by cutting out government-run support.”
Under the Berejiklian Government’s plans, government-run support for people with disability will not exist by 2018. Instead, private and community providers will supposedly be responsible for all cases in the state.
However, unlike the existing government-run system, private and community providers can refuse to work with clients, meaning some high-needs people with disability will fall through the cracks and end up on the streets or in the state’s prison system.
The PSA is holding a community forum in Newcastle to demand a government-run safety for people with a disability in NSW.