Portland residents put pressure on state government for disability service funds

THE state government is facing pressure from Portland residents and Glenelg Shire to help pay for a new disability service. 

The council has thrown its support behind a group of parents who are hoping to establish a supported accommodation service for older children with disabilities. 

Glenelg chief executive Sharon Kelsey told The Standard ageing parents were concerned about who would look after their children. 

“This is a really compelling issue,” Ms Kelsey said 

The group, Portland Lighthouse Home Inc, has already raised $800,000 towards a five-bedroom accommodation facility, with the total cost expected to be about  $1.5 million. 

However, the facility will require round-the-clock, full-time paid carers, which the group hopes the state government will pay for. 

The only option open to families at the moment is to move their child to another part of the state. 

“One of the really compelling aspects is that if supported accommodation is found it could be anywhere else in Victoria. On no level does that seem like a reasonable outcome,” Ms Kelsey said. 

The government has voiced some support so far but “their concerns are it won’t come to fruition”, Ms Kelsey said.

Land has already been earmarked in the city centre belonging to Kyeema support services. 

Glenelg Shire passed a unanimous decision at its last meeting to push harder for funding by lobbying the health department and writing to South West Coast MP and Premier Denis Napthine. 

Mayor John Northcott said the government had no plans to increase disability housing in Portland. 

“The Portland Lighthouse group has advised that there is no future disability housing planned for Portland and with the issue of ageing carers, demand growth is expected to increase into the future,” Cr Northcott said. 

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