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POWELL MEDIA RELEASE – Lack of funding for disability sector priority for Powell (14 February 2011)

Shadow Cabinet Ministers converged on the Sunshine Coast today to discuss plans for the year ahead and hold deputations with locals and community groups.

Member for Glass House, Andrew Powell MP, arranged for several deputations on important matters in the Glass House community.

“Deputations allow constituents the opportunity to discuss their concerns directly with the relevant Shadow Minister and are a great way of communicating the need to address particular issues within the community, ‘ said Mr Powell.

“I was fortunate to be able to arrange a deputation for a group of parents of children with a disability with the Shadow Minister for Families, Housing and Communities (including Child Safety, Disability Services and Volunteers), Mr Ted Malone MP.

“I have been working with these families who have found themselves without, or with very little, funding for post school services for their disabled children.  Up until this year, their children have received up to 30 hours of educational services through the Coast’s Special Schools at Nambour and Currimundi.  In nearly all cases, they’ve gone from 30 hours of support to zero!

“I wrote to the Minister late last year asking her to reconsider funding for these families and also extended an invitation to her to visit the facility in Palmwoods where these kids would be able to participate in post school services.  Neither request was considered favourably.

“These parents do it tough.  Not only do they care for a child with a disability, they also continue to run the rest of their household and attempt to hold down some type of employment to make ends meet,” said Mr Powell.

Mrs Jude Mannix is just one of the parents who contacted Mr Powell asking for his assistance.

“There is a major shortfall in the distribution of post school funding and this has meant many school leavers with a disability, including my son, do not have access to adequate services.

“It is simply not good enough that on top of the economic, social and emotional disadvantage many parents of children and young people with a disability face, we have to pay for ongoing support services out of our own pockets, ” said Mrs Mannix.

“The disability sector really is being left behind and these kids and their families are suffering.  As a community and as a Government we have a duty of care to these families and their children.  They deserve better, ” Mr Powell concluded.

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