Minister at Colanda but still no certainty

Health and Community Services Union members protested at the entrance of Colac’s Colanda Centre yesterday before the Disability and Ageing Minister Martin Foley arrived for a meeting with residents, family members and staff.

Health and Community Services Union members protested at the entrance of Colac’s Colanda Centre yesterday before the Disability and Ageing Minister Martin Foley arrived for a meeting with residents, family members and staff.

THE FUTURE of Colac’s Colanda Centre remains uncertain after a visit from the State Government’s Disability and Ageing Minister to the centre yesterday.

Martin Foley visited the Colanda Centre after the Health and Community Services Union raised concerns last week the government planned on privatising the disability care centre.

More than 100 Colanda residents, families, staff and union members attended a meeting with Mr Foley to discuss the future of the centre.

Family members of Colanda residents spoke directly to the Minister voicing concerns about Colanda’s closure.

Mr Foley told the group that the government would build five new homes in “community settings” for people in Colanda, which the previous Liberal Government announced in September last year.

“We will deliver these over the next few years after we work out the details with the families, the local community and the National Disability Insurance Authority,” he said.

“We expect this will provide a new home for about 25 of the 79 residents.

“We will continue to operate the Colanda facility through the NDIS for remaining residents.”

HACSU state secretary Lloyd Williams said he was “very disappointed” with the meeting and said it failed to help clear up the uncertainty of Colanda’s future.

“It appears that the Minister is simply re-announcing something that was announced in September 2014,” Mr Williams said.

“That is that some four or five houses will be built and the service provider is yet to be determined,” he said.

“What that means for the families and staff here at Colanda is that the uncertainty about who will provide the quality care when people move out into the community is the great unknown.”

See today’s paper for more on a family member’s fear around Colanda’s closure.

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