MANLY-WARRINGAH RESPITE CARE ACILITIES
The Hon. B. H. VAUGHAN: I direct my question without notice to the Minister for Community Services. Further to a question asked by the Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti in the House last Tuesday, can the Minister provide the House with any further detail in relation to the issue of respite care in the Manly-Warringah area?
The Hon. R. D. DYER: Last Tuesday the Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti asked a question regarding a meeting of the disability coalition in the northern Sydney area. I was asked whether, at that meeting, a woman threatened to commit suicide and to take her son with her because of a lack of respite care in the Manly-Warringah area. The family in question, which is known to the Department of Community Services, has received respite from resources in the Warringah area for some time. There have been occasions in the past when respite has been less available to the many people requiring it. This is not a new phenomenon. It was a matter of acute concern during the period in office of the former coalition Government. Increased requests across the respite system have been accommodated by varying the amount of respite available. In this way at least some respite is made available to a greater number of people.
Attempts are being made to seek more permanent accommodation options for other consumers in the area so that the availability of respite services will not suffer. In this case I am aware of the acute distress which this family is experiencing. I have directed that increased support be offered to the family. In response to this the Department of Community Services has advised the family that, in the next respite contract period, it is expected that additional respite will be available to the family. The department's community support staff will be working closely with this family and will offer every assistance to monitor the family's ongoing needs for support and to help alleviate this mother's distress. For example, a departmental family therapist is working with the family to address a number of issues. I have asked the Department of Community Services to keep me informed of progress in this important matter.