Transcript of Kelly Vincent MLC & Jennifer Rankine MP on ABC Adelaide 891 – Strathmont Centre
ABC Adelaide 891
29 March 2011
Abraham: Kelly Vincent good morning to you … Kelly, what’s your assessment of the … condition of the Strathmont Centre?
Vincent: It’s dilapidated, it’s uncomfortable, it’s not the kind of home that you would wish anyone – it’s not very homely at all really … you don’t walk in there and feel like these people are really being given a home.
Bevan: What do you think should be done with it?
Vincent: Well obviously the transitioning out of Strathmont and into homes and into community is already underway. Some thirty people have already been moved out as you know, but it is important to keep in mind that some, particularly parents of the residents there actually don’t want this transition to happen … I think now that it is underway we need to find a way of doing that which does [unclear] the fact that these people have lived, some of them their entire lives, in institutions whether that’s right or wrong and so … you cannot just expect these people to go out into community housing and just naturally adjust to life in the community. So there needs to be individualised plans for these people to [unclear] to that [unclear] intellectual and emotional in order to allow them to adjust
Bevan: Do you fear that the place is being allowed to run down because the Government is in a process of putting people out into the community?
Vincent: Oh absolutely, … all you have to do is look at the photos that were in the paper on Sunday … the broken benches and the … dilapidated state of the entire building to know that nobody’s maintaining it
Bevan: Right, so you could at least give it a lick of paint or maybe fix up those broken chairs outside, maybe replace the dead trees and make it a comfortable place for people to live while those who remain there are there, and maybe … I think what you’re saying is that it might be that some people will need a permanent institution to live in, some people, after living their whole lives in an institution aren’t going to cope all that well being moved out into the community?
Vincent: … people with intellectual disabilities just like any other person , have different needs to one another so not everyone will be able to live on their own; some people may have to live [unclear] other institution like places like Minda, for instance, perhaps. Maybe some of them will have to move into group homes, so again it’s about catering to what the person really needs … as opposed to forcing this ship upon them just because this is what the cultural shift is calling for
Abraham: Kelly Vincent thank you
Bevan: From Dignity for Disability.
Jennifer Rankine, Minister for Disabilities
Bevan: Jennifer Rankine is the Minister for Disability, she joins us now. Good morning Minister
Rankine: Good morning David
Rankine: Minister are you allowing Strathmont Centre to be run down while you’re in the process of shifting people out?
Rankine: … we certainly are not allowing the areas in which people occupy and spend their days to be run down; I have to say I was really disappointed with the photographs that were in the Sunday Mail. They were of an area I’m told where years ago two of the accommodation villas had actually been demolished so this is, the photographs as I understand it are of an area that is not used by the residents
Bevan: Well, but don’t worry so much about the Sunday Mail, what about what Kelly Vincent just said? She says you are allowing it to be run down?
Rankine: Well we have spent something like five million dollars on maintenance since 2005 there and this year alone we’re spending an additional million dollars. Now you know, the accommodation for people out there prior to the demolition of Strathmont, there were circumstances where some people were three to a room. Now each person has their own room
Abraham: So it’s quite nice and homey out there is it? It’s quite nice and homely?
Rankine: And the fact is that the staff ratios are much greater than had been previously the case
Abraham: So it’s quite nice and homely?
Rankine: No, what we want to see is people moved out into more appropriate accommodation
Abraham: Sure, but in the meantime is it sad and shabby?
Rankine: No, it has not been run down and as I said we’ve continued to maintain Strathmont. We understand that there are families who are really anxious about their family members moving out into the community –
Abraham: Yeah, five million since 200 – and how far do you have to go back to get the five million? Two thousand and - ?
Abraham: and what, I think Patrick Conlon spent, what, reportedly, $400,000 / $500,000 on a make over of his office alone in one year?
Rankine: Matthew this is a facility that we hope in the not too distant future that we don’t have residents living at. It was purpose-built many, many years ago and it’s not the sort of accommodation we want people with disabilities living in but we also … are doing it in a timely fashion so that families are agreeable to where their family member lives, they have confidence in them –
Bevan: So Minister you are going to close Strathmont then?
Rankine: Well … the plan since 2005 has been to do that, we now have only 66 residents there and there are, my understanding is the plan is not for people to be put out in the community on their own but they will go into [unclear]
Bevan: So when will you close it down?
Rankine: Hang on, David can I finish what I’m saying?
Bevan: Well we haven’t got a lot of time
Rankine: Sorry, David, well
Bevan: When are you going to close it?
Rankine: Well … we will move forward with the next stage as we have the accommodation available and as we work with the families there
Bevan: That’s not much of an answer. You, what’s your time table?
Rankine: Well, it’s, it’s the best I can give you at this stage
Bevan: You don’t know, okay, all right
Rankine: Well no, I can [unclear], I have
Bevan: Or you do know?
Rankine: I have plans but I can’t announce what hasn’t yet been approved in the budget but we have, to-date spent $20m building purpose-built homes for people who have left Strathmont and provided an additional six, nearly seven million dollars for recurrent funds to support those people in the community. So unlike Kelly says, we do not put people out in the community and leave them to struggle on their own, they go into purpose built homes with very strong support and care around them
Abraham: Minister, we thank you Minister. Minister for Disabilities, Jennifer Rankine and Ian Henschke, after nine