Disability Emergency Accomodation

Ms MIKAKOS (Northern Metropolitan)— My matter this evening is for the Minister for Disability Services and Reform. It relates to emergency accommodation for a young man, Luke Modra, who is in his mid-20s and suffers from severe autism. I am advised that Luke is currently residing in a property in Lockwood, just outside Bendigo, which is owned by his parents but staffed by Golden City Support Services. The property has significant damage, particularly to the bathroom, but also elsewhere. I am advised that it is dangerous for Luke and the Golden City Support Services staff to use the bathroom in its current state and that the damage to the property is negatively impacting on Luke.

Luke’s parents have requested emergency alternative accommodation while the repairs are assessed and made. However, I am advised that to date their request has been rejected by the Department of Human Services.

Incredibly they have been told that if they relinquish Luke into state care, they may then qualify to get him into a hotel or motel room until something more suitable comes up. This is not a solution for a family that has done everything in its power to ensure that Luke is cared for in the best possible way.

Luke’s parents have funded Luke’s accommodation, and they have done their best to ensure that Luke’s needs are met. Suitable temporary accommodation has not been provided to date. Next month Luke will be in hospital for 4 hours, and it has been suggested to the family that they take advantage of that time to undertake urgent and necessary safety repairs to the house. The family is now planning for Luke’s uncles to come from interstate to undertake a renovation rescue, so to speak, of the house — that is, to undertake these most urgent and necessary safety repairs.

It is disheartening that the only opportunity for urgent repairs to be completed is when the occupant is briefly in hospital. Luke’s parents have asked for temporary emergency accommodation for Luke so that his home can be repaired fully and he can return to a familiar and safe environment that he knows as his home. Luke’s father, Mark, has emailed the minister directly and also Andrea Coote, the Parliamentary Secretary for Families and Community Services, pleading for assistance. I understand that the minister’s office is familiar with this matter, and therefore it is not necessary for me to provide further identifying information in respect of this family.

The Modra family is very anxious about this situation, so I call on the minister to urgently investigate this matter with a view to ensuring that Luke and his family are properly supported while they make the repairs to his accommodation.