THE state government has put on hold plans to increase rents in state government-owned disability accommodation.
Under the proposal, people living in Department of Human Services (DHS) supported accommodation would pay 75 per cent of their disability support pension for board and lodging, leaving them with little disposable income.
At the moment, people with a disability are paying between 48 and 52 per cent of their benefits towards accommodation.
When the plans were announced Koroit’s Brian and Helen Sheppard said their daughter Lauren, 32, who has a physical and intellectual disability, would be among those who would be hit hardest.
Mrs Sheppard said the changes meant once medical, physiotherapy and transport costs were taken out of the remaining 25 per cent of her pension, Lauren would have $80 to live on for a month.
“These are the most vulnerable of our society, it just doesn’t make sense,” she said.
This week Premier Denis Napthine told The Standard people in non-government supported accommodation were paying more than people in the government supported accommodation and the system needed to be more equitable.
He said the money raised from the increase would have been used to expand the disability services system.
A group of parents took the state government to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to fight the proposal and it was indicated that each resident would have to present their circumstances to the tribunal.
Dr Napthine said the state government was not prepared to put people with a disability and their families through a traumatic litigious process. He said the proposal had been withdrawn but had not been abandoned.
Dr Napthine said he had spoken to Mrs Sheppard and he understood her concerns but it was difficult to argue that one person with a disability should pay one amount while another with the same disability paid more.