Victoria Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge
Coalition Responds To Community Visitors Annual Report 2010-11
Victor P Taffa
The important role of Community Visitors in the Victorian community was acknowledged today with the first-ever tabling in Parliament of a government response to a Community Visitor’s annual report.
Community Visitors are volunteers empowered by law to visit Victorian accommodation facilities for the frail aged and people with a disability or mental illness. They monitor and report on the adequacy of services provided in the interests of residents and patients.
Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge said that tabling a response to the Community Visitors Annual Report 2010-11 delivered on a Coalition election commitment.
“In our first response, we recognise the strength and challenges in supported residential services (SRS), bed-based public mental health services and disability residential services that was identified in the report.” Ms. Wooldridge said.
“The Community Visitors Annual Report 2010-11 has acknowledged many areas of good practice, while also highlighting long-standing systemic issues and challenges across the health, mental health and disability sectors.”
“Our response recognises these issues require a long-term plan and outlines a way forward that will rely on the continued partnership between the Office of the Public Advocate (OPA), Community Visitors and the Victorian Coalition Government.”
Ms Wooldridge welcomed the recommendations contained in the Community Visitors Annual Report 2010-11 and noted the government was implementing a range of initiatives that addressed many of the issues it raised. These included:
- A $104.8 Million investment in mental health care, which will help improve access to community treatment and accommodation.
- New funding for disability services, including $40.1 Million for new innovative models of supported accommodation, respite and school holiday respite support for people with a disability.
- A commitment of $11.1 Million annually to the SRS Supporting Accommodation for Vulnerable Victorians Initiative.
- Victoria’s leading role in establishing a National Disability Insurance Scheme.
- Improved case management for the most vulnerable members of the community.
- Implementation of a new Supported Residential Services (Private Proprietors) Act and supporting regulations to increase protections for residents of SRS.
Ms. Wooldridge said the government was also addressing a range of operational and administrative issues raised in the report.
“Our response is part of an ongoing dialogue between the government, the OPA and Community Visitors, with a shared long-term goal of improving the lives of vulnerable people in Victoria.” Ms. Wooldridge said.