Privatisation plan a

Sharon Salmon and Gail Russell are concerned for their brother Shane. Picture: Jon Hewsond416451
Sharon Salmon and Gail Russell are concerned for their brother Shane. Picture: Jon Hewsond416451

Her 52-year-old brother Shane lives in Stratton House, Hamilton, earmarked to be handed over to a private company in the future.

He has Down’s Syndrome and very limited speech and has been living in care for 32 years.

Last October, Disability Services Minister Helen Morton announced that 60 per cent of the Government’s accommodation services would gradually transfer to the private sector.

The Russells are one of many families against the move, saying it will cause massive disruption to their children’s progress and do not believe they will receive the same level of care when residents are split up and the services are sold.

Mrs Russell said the residents and carers had been together for a long time and had formed a special bond.

‘We don’t want the home privatised as we have heard many bad stories,’ she said.

‘They have been together for a long time and all have little quirks, but if left unsupervised they could get up to all sorts of mischief.

‘The carers are trained so much and experienced in how to handle them. When we visit we notice the high level of interaction with staff and his mates and we have no complaints.’

Mrs Russell said her brother and others had a set routine and struggled when that was challenged or changed.

‘Shane leads as much of a normal life as possible and he is really happy now as he sees the carers and residents as his family.’

Mrs Russell said the State Government decision to privatise the homes was a bad one.

She said she wrote to Premier Colin Barnett three times and got very little response and to Minister Morton in early February but received no response.

CPSU/CSA branch secretary Toni Walkington said the social trainers in the government-run facilities helped residents maintain essential life skills that most people took for granted but there were not as many of them in the private facilities.

‘When Helen Morton addressed the social trainers on the steps of State Parliament late last year she said no resident would be forced out of their home and no service would be cut or diminished in anyway,’ Ms Walkington said.

‘But we know that will not be the case when the social trainers are gone.’

She said the decision meant up to 300 DSC residents would suffer.