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KEW COTTAGES COALITION
The Archive August 2004 at WWW.KEW.ORG.AU
Kew Cottages Coalition Reg # A0044698H
>>>>>>> The Land >>>>>>>>>>>>>> The People <<<<<<<<<
23rd August 2004
Kew Cottages Coalition
issued the following Media Release today:
KEW COTTAGES IS A VICTORIAN HERITAGE SITE THAT SHOULD BE PRESERVED FOR ALL VICTORIANS.
Click here for current and historical views of the Cottages and grounds.
Photos Tony Michael, Kew Historical Society.
Kew Cottages Coalition welcomes Heritage Victoria's decision today to recommend the addition of Kew Cottages to the Victorian Heritage Register.
The Coalitions President, Mr. Brian Walsh, said that the Coalition had first nominated the Cottages for the Register in January this year, and he called on the Premier, Steve Bracks to now:
- support the Heritage Victoria recommendation, on behalf of all Victorians;
- declare a moratorium on the Government's sale of the site, and
- establish an independent inquiry into the future of Kew Cottages.
Mr. Walsh, said that it was obvious that all the so called "Planning" for the sale and destruction of Kew Cottages by the Bracks Government to date had proceeded on a false assumption, namely that the Cottages was NOT a Heritage site, so the planning process would now just have to start again.
Mr. Walsh said, " Steve Bracks and Sherryl Garbutt have only got themselves to blame for the current mess. They inherited the Cottages on behalf of all Victorians when they came into Government, and they should have involved Heritage Victoria from day one in their redevelopment plans."
"It would have been the natural thing to do for any responsible Government.." Mr. Walsh said. "The adjoining Willsmere site is already on the Victorian Heritage Register, and for over a hundred years Kew Cottages were actually a part of Willsmere. "
But ironically in 2001, when all eyes were on the Centenary of the opening of Australia's greatest institution, at the Heritage listed Melbourne Exhibition Buildings, the Bracks Government appears to have simply turned its back on the possibility of involving Heritage Victoria in the future of another Melbourne icon of the same era - Kew Cottages.
Mr. Walsh said," The Bracks 'Dash for cash' from the Cottages has ended up squarely putting the "'Developers' Cart before the Heritage Horse. They have not only wasted a lot of public time and public money over the past three years, they have also caused a lot of grief and anxiety to some of Victoria's most disadvantaged citizens - the intellectually disabled and their families."
Mr. Walsh said," Bracks should have properly dealt with the Public Heritage value of Kew Cottages before he even contemplated what Private Developers might be prepared to pay to cover this historic Yarra Valley hillside with concrete. Now the whole question of whether medium and high density housing is even remotely appropriate on this Heritage site will have to be looked at afresh."
The Kew Cottages Coalition believes that the Government tender to sell the site should be recalled immediately, and a properly constituted independent inquiry appointed to make recommendations on:
a) The failure of the Kew Cottages planning process to date to adequately take account of the Cottages historic usage and Heritage values;
b) An appropriate future for Kew Cottages, including the nature and form of intellectual disability services and accommodation choices to be developed.
Mr. Walsh said he would like to put on record the Coalition's thanks to all those groups and individuals who had assisted in developing and supporting the Kew Cottages nominations to Heritage Victoria, and in helping with the Coalition's continuing search for the original cast iron Main Gates. The Gates were removed from the Princess Street Entrance to the Cottages in 1940, and are now believed to be located somewhere in the Shepparton region.
KEW COTTAGES IS HERITAGE PUBLIC LAND THAT SHOULD KEPT IN PUBLIC HANDS
KEW Cottages plan faces heritage challenge
August 23, 2004
By Royce Millar.
"The State Government's controversial plan to redevelop Kew Cottages faces staunch opposition from the Government's own heritage watchdog.... "
The full story is available at:
6th August 2004
Melbourne Herald Sun - Melbourne,Victoria,Australia
"The families of former Kew Cottages residents simply want their children to be adequately cared for .... This is part of the reason why parents wanted a centre of excellence built on the site.." Maree Wood, Boronia (More..)" Community Services Minister Sherryl Garbutt describes conditions at Kew Cottages as Dickensian.
My brother, Donald, lives at the Cottages and I, along with many other families have been fighting long and hard to keep them there.
We would hardly be doing that if we thought the situation was Dickensian...." Beverley Garrett, Springvale South (More..)
5th August 2004
An unkind development
Melbourne Herald Sun - Melbourne,Victoria,Australia
THE Bracks Government's assurances that Kew Cottages residents would not suffer when moved out to make way for a developer are now looking decidedly hollow. ...
The full editorial is available at:
Bracks disputes Kew claims
Tanya Giles and Jane Metlikovec
August 5, 2004
PREMIER Steve Bracks yesterday refused to ease the plight of former Kew Cottage residents hit with exorbitant medical bills.
The full story is available at:
Item: Bills hit families of disabled 04aug04
From: Eric Yeomans
An utter disgrace, the Bracks government should be ashamed of itself for adopting 'user pays' capitalist ideology in respect of such handicapped persons. Perhaps shortly one of their own family may become so afflicted, then suddenly they may gain more insight.
From: Tim Shambrook
The Bracks Government has treated the Kew Cottage resident families with contempt. Originally they wanted all residents to leave the area altogether. They are mainly interested in the dollars the Kew land would bring, rather than the historic Kew Cottage institution which has for many years been a great help to many families throughout Victoria.
From: Margaret Ryan
The Bracks government has allocated an extra $79 million over six years for the extra costs of moving 460 or so Kew residents "into the community". It is corruption that this money is apparently not going to directly benefit the Kew people. The heartless people who prey on intellectually disabled people and their families are flourishing in Victoria.
4th August 2004
Heartless: Bills hit families of disabled
August 4, 2004
FAMILIES of former Kew Cottages residents have been hit with thousands of dollars in medical bills since their children were removed from their long-time home.... (More..)
The Bracks Government reply......
"They paid more ..and were living in a Dickensian Institution"
Victorian Minister for Community Services
ABC Radio News
11am Wednesday August 4, 2003
To view the Kew Cottages "Dickensian Institution" referred to by Minister Garbutt click here.
Is this the same Kew Cottages that the Bracks Government is trying to sell to private developers for hundreds of millions of dollars ?
1st August 2004
So who cares?
August 1, 2004
Reporter :Jana Wendt
Producer : Thea Dikeos, Paul Steindl
"In a health system under siege in many areas, one statistic stands out: the number of mentally ill people who committed suicide while under care doubled from 1993 to 2001 — the last year for which figures are available. While the validity of the figures can be argued, one thing is certain: the amount of money and services directed to people suffering from mental illnesses is hopelessly inadequate... (More..)
Sunday's Jana Wendt reports on how we have failed to provide those most in need with adequate heath care services. This has resulted in sufferers being either "in the jails, on the streets or in the graveyard," according to Dr Jean Lennane, a long-time critic of a decision in the 1980s to shut down mental institutions and move care into the community. (More,,)
Listen Also to:
Mental Health Care Inadequate.
Grab from 4th August 2004 - Stavroula. (More..)
Isabelle Collins … Director, Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council
(on) Jon Faine
774 ABC Radio
5th August 2004
14th July 2004. (Bastille Day)
State Planning in Victoria is coming off the rails, but... Bracks' bureaucrats still struggle with simple arithmetic....
In May 2001 when Premier Bracks announced that Kew Residential Services was to be "re-developed" he said it was to be a "$100 million land and residential redevelopment...."
The 470 intellectually disabled residents would be re-located. To raise the $100 million cash required for re-housing the Kew residents "the land will be sold" said the Premier.
It was planned to be just one more in a spate of public capital projects, including a succession of public land sales to private developers. Bracks bureaucrats and spin doctors went to work on Kew with a will.
But now three years later, a number of private developers have apparently withdrawn from the Government tender process for Kew, there is widespread community opposition to the Kew Cottages land grab even starting, and according to recent reports in the press, the Government's numbers often just don't add up. As result...
Capital projects hit a brick wall
By Michael Bachelard
The Weekend Australian
July 10, 2004
In the final months of construction on Melbourne's landmark Federation Square, the official in charge of the project had to go to the Commonwealth Bank every month to borrow cash to pay the bills.
"The bureaucrats up at the departments of Premier and Cabinet and Finance wanted to fart around and make up the arithmetic to see if the $6 or $7 million I wanted to pay was right. Or they were saying: 'We need time to think about this,"' recalls Dick Roennfeldt, the then director of the Government's Office of Major Projects..... (More)
10th July 2004.. Back in March 2004 the Bracks Government suddenly changed tack on Kew, and opened up the possibility of a Public/Private Partnership deal instead of an outright sale. Now this fashionable new found form of "PPP financing has been shown to be fundamentally flawed.Instead of the so called 'Public/Private Partnerships' that often conceal more than they reveal, the experts say that, Governments need to revisit more traditional forms of financing public sector infrastructure. As Professor Alan Fels, former chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission argues:
First comes debt, then investment
July 10, 2004
"The chorus of voices urging federal and state governments to rethink their aversion to debt is getting deafening.
It seems that the "borrowing is bad" mantra that came into fashion in economist circles during the 1990s is beginning to peter out. It's a shame the nation's treasurers are yet to catch on.
In the past year, we've heard everyone from the Property Council, the Australian Industry Group, the ANZ Bank, the ACTU and even ratings agency Standard & Poor's encouraging governments to invest in infrastructure using public debt. Examples abound where capital expenditure on infrastructure is sorely needed, with projects in roads, rail, ports, hospitals, public housing and water all on the drawing board. (More)
July 2004Community unrest with State and Federal Governments bungling of environmental and heritage issues continues to grow.
Point Nepean is viewed by many as a national watershed in heritage mismanagement. But the problems are not just confined to the National and State edifices and icons. Hazardous waste, water, wind power, and woodchip issues have all threatened to become a festering sore in a range rural Victorian communities, coastal areas, and old growth forests. (More..)
Meanwhile back in the suburbs of Melbourne more protests have erupted against the Bracks Government's "Melbourne 2030" strategy. What began in Kew, Camberwell, Carlton, and Parkville has now spread to every suburb concerned about Green Space, heritage, height limits, setbacks, and community character. (More..)
"Melbourne 2030" has disenfranchised metropolitan councils, and frustrated voters with volumes of 'planning speak' and media double-talk, about activity centres, medium density units, and high-rise housing.
Up at Kew Cottages, Yarra Valley Water responds to Heritage Victoria's polite request, and moves its new pipes from under the Algerian Oaks to what the Department of Sustainability and Environment calls a "grassy area"...
A year ago this DHS KRS sign said "People First" , but that claim appears to have been removed by DHS when the first Units behind the sign were emptied of people late in 2003. Then DHS locked up the Units, and sealed them with cyclone security fencing. Ironically the fencing used was of the type that was supposed to be used to protect the SIgnificant trees.
DSE were right of course. It is certainly a grassy area. The only problem is that someone must have moved a tree or two back up against the pipes when DSE weren't looking ... and none of the trees have any of the protective fencing that was so carefully detailed in the Government's glossy reports and "Tree Protection Guidelines" published for this "Site of State Significance."(See: "KRS Background Overview Report, Supporting Amendment C53 to the Boroondara Planning Scheme, Public Information, DSE/DHS 11th November 2003)
Heritage lies in the eye of the excavator....
Foreground - Heritage Cast iron 30" Yan Yean Water Main Pipe WITH Protective Fencing
Background - Heritage Holly-leafed Cherry, Algerian Oaks, and Elm trees WITHOUT Protective Fencing
Photos. Tony Michael.
Trust moves to save 'historic' station
By Martin Boulton
June 25, 2004
Camberwell railway station has been classified as historically significant by the National Trust, further challenging Government plans for development at the site.
The 85-year-old station is one of four new precincts the Trust will classify, in a deliberate push to preserve heritage characteristics in built-up areas that the State Government has earmarked for further development.
High Street in Northcote has also been classified... (More)
23rd June 2004. Heritage Victoria undertakes a Kew Cottages site inspection, and arranges with Yarra Valley Water for the new pipes to be relocated "as soon as plant is available."
22nd June 2004. Heritage Victoria responds quickly to KCC's request, but says it has only one tree expert on staff and that that person will not be able to undertake a site visit until the following day. In the meantime they start their investigation by contacting Yarra Valley Water, and all the Government agencies involved.
21st June 2004. Kew Cottages Coalition calls on Heritage Victoria to- investigate the proposed works as soon as possible,
- take whatever action is needed to immediately protect the trees in question, and
- apply an interim protection order to the whole site without further delay.
21st June 2004. Unfortunately, Yarra Valley Water weren't to know the Government had had a Conservation Study undertaken in 2003. Nor did they know that the Government had decided that these trees needed to be protected, and that to do that in the event of construction works, then "the appointed trees shall be fenced off with sturdy fencing.... (in order to) create an 'exclusion zone' beneath these trees. This fence will deter the entry of heavy equipment, vehicles, workers and/or the public into this Tree Protection Zone." (ibid,DHS/DSE Nov 2003.)
Unfortunately, Victoria, unlike NSW does not apparently even have a 'fail-safe' system in place to make sure contractors 'dial before they dig', on such significant sites.
Tree Protection Zones for these trees are listed at 7m to 9m according to their canopy size.
Nor were Yarra Valley Water to know that earlier this year, the National Trust had added this Holly-leafed cherry tree "prunus Ilicia" to its register of significant trees. Perhaps Yarra Valley hadn't asked, and perhaps no one at DHS or DSE had thought to tell them. Perhaps the Government bureaucracy had other things on its mind, like a major Kew land sale, and a project of "State Significance". Perhaps it had tenders to deal with, and with "revisions and decisions, which a minute would reverse..." Perhaps that's why the Government's own commissioned tree experts, John Patrick, had gone to such trouble in defining the fencing and management practices for 173 significant 'Tree Protection Zones" (TPZ) that needed to be put in place at Kew Cottages. Perhaps Patricks knew the sorts of damage that a combination of modern day bureaucrats, back-hoe's and bulldozers could do to these century old trees.
Tree No.172, on the Minister's list of significant trees drawn up by John Patrick was the Holly-leafed cherry tree "prunus illicia". Tree No 172 had TPZ specified of 3 metres - the distance from the trunk (radius) in metres to allow for the protection of the tree."
"This area", said Patricks," should be appropriately fenced during the entire construction phase."
We won't harm Yarra: Thwaites
June 16, 2004
18th June 2004... ROYAL PARK HOSPITAL HERITAGE SAVED
The Heritage Council announced the good news that a decision
had been made to confirm the provisional determination that the Royal Park Hospital
be included on the State Heritage Register... (More..)
14th June 2004. Yarra Valley Water commences exploratory works near Kew Cottages as part of its plan to reline some of Victoria's oldest water mains. Two 30 inch mains run all the way to Kew from the Yan Yean Reservoir.
The Yarra Valley Water works are a major project. It is now just over 150 years since Governor La Trobe turned the first sod to start construction of Yan Yean.
The original pipes are as old as the Cottages themselves. They cross the Yarra at the Fairfield pipe bridge, then up to Kew through the Willsmere and Cottages land, before splitting at Wills Street - one main south down Princess Street to Kew Junction, and one south-east towards Charles Street. As they approach Wills Street the pipes pass under the Main Avenue of Algerian Oaks and the Holly-leafed Cherry Tree recently nominated for the Victorian Heritage Register by the Kew Cottages Coalition.
17th June 20004. Channel 7 News Reports GE Development Threatens Burnley Gardens (More..)
Thwaites steps in on DevilbendBy Martin Daly
June 13, 2004
Off the plan: development chaos adds to Bracks' woes"... Several developers have said if Melbourne 2030 can't work in Camberwell, it can't work anywhere... (More.)
Australian Financial Review
June 4, 2004
2nd May 2004. On Sunday 2 May a crowd of over 1000 people led by celebrities Barry Humphries and Geoffrey Rush with a supporting cast of community groups from all over Melbourne protested at "Melbourne 2030" and the planned destruction of Camberwell Station. (PPL More..)
Barry Humphries summed up the feeling of the protesters with his "Poem for A Planner..."I am a city planner and I've generally succeeded,
In giving Melbourne people things they never thought they
I love to plan these projects (and they fill an entire shelf),
Provided that they're miles away from where I live myself.
We've got some groovy planners' buzzwords to convince you
We talk of 'strategies' and 'options' and we love delivering
And if you enemies of progress make us put our plans on
We talk vaguely about safety, wheelchair access and the
Now that several years have passed since the ministry's eye
On that sleepy little suburb that is known as Camberwell.
And I have just walked down Burke Road at a pretty steady
For we planners very rarely see the sites that we develop.
Our mates at VicTrack told us the situation was no joke,
If it wasn't for Asian students the railways would go broke.
So they asked a kind developer to help them save their skin,
And that's about the point where my ministry stepped in.
Now confidentiality is what my job's about,
But we struck a bugger of a problem - the residents found
And that is why I'm standing here before you all today,
For progress is a fact of life that will not go away.
To us the whole of Melbourne is completely up for grabs,
And our developer of choice uses the best of concrete slabs.
And if you think we're vandals, you clearly haven't checked,
We put big pictures of how it used to be on all the streets
So please don't try to stop us perform our rightful function,
Think of all the lovely traffic we'll be bringing to the
And the retail opportunities for resident and renter,
And the mysterious activities in your new activity centre.
And we'll build a lovely plaza to entertain the local thugs,
Why should the kids of Camberwell go to Box Hill for their
And one day if you behave yourself we might even produce a
picture of what you're getting,
Meanwhile, I'm off to Noosa!
Bracks' freeway folly will cost us dearly
By Kenneth Davidson
April 29, 2004
The threat to Melbourne's green wedges
By Kenneth Davidson
April 15, 2004
Green light for listing boosts city's gardens
By Martin Boulton
April 5, 2004
1st April 2004
KCC Media Release asks, "Is the Bracks' Government Kew Cottages Tender an April Fool's Day joke or a serious miscarriage of justice ?" (More..)
31st March 2004.. The day before tenders close DHS responds by e-mail to a series of further questions about the Kew Cottages residents and current usage of the land. (More..)
However, when asked specifically :
Does DHS intend to remove some intellectually disabled residents from their
current homes on the site without their consent?
DHS appears to try and avoid admitting that the Government does now plan to try and move some residents off the land without their consent.
DHS tries to re-assure potential developers by saying that:
- People are progressively moving from KRS to better accommodation.
Decisions about where each person will live are made following an extensive
consultation process and are subject to external scrutiny and review
including by the Intellectual Disability Review Panel and the Office of the
Public Advocate. People have identified up to three preferences and the DHS
is placing people according to their needs and attempting to meet their
preferences.KEW RESIDENTIAL SERVICES (KRS) REDEVELOPMENT
ACCOMMODATION REPLACEMENT PROJECT
EOI E-2982 SITE DEVELOPER
DHS TRANSMITTAL 2 (More..)
24th March 2004.. 5 days after amending the E-2982 online tender documentation (19/3) and with just a week to run before tenders close on 1st April, DHS finally advises the respondents to its original advertisement (12/3) in...KEW RESIDENTIAL SERVICES (KRS) REDEVELOPMENT19th March 2004.. Some Plans last longer than others..
ACCOMMODATION REPLACEMENT PROJECT
EOI E-2982 - SITE DEVELOPER
DHS TRANSMITTAL 1 (More..)
A week is a long time in politics, as they say, and just 6 days after its initial advertisement in 'The Age' the Victorian Government suddenly changes its plan on how best to sell the Kew Cottages land.
Without any notification in the press, or any further explanation as to why the Government wants to move the goal posts, DHS simply amends its online advertisement. (More..)
Now, instead of seeking only developers who would be prepared to purchase the site outright, DHS says that:
Developers should note that the Government is prepared to entertain a range of options for the sale and development of the site, which may include:· Overall purchase on a staged or terms basis;
· An unincorporated joint venture between the State and the developer; or
· Other commercial arrangements that achieve an optimum return for Government whilst meeting the appropriate probity and fiscal guidelines.
Precisely how an "optimum return" for Government is to be measured, in the face of diverse and differently structured development plan proposals, however, is not explained.
12th March 2004.. In Search of a Kew Cottages Development Plan... (and a Developer...)
After three years of deliberations on how best to 'redevelop the century old institution formerly known as Kew Cottages, ' the Bracks Government finally calls for expressions of interest from private developers.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) places advertisements in the Tenders section of "The Age" newspaper, and online calling for "Expressions of Interest" in the purchase of Kew Residential Services. (More..)
DHS says: "The successful Company or Consortia will purchase the 27-hectare KRS site for redevelopment as a planned, integrated and appropriately staged development, which meets the requirements for those residents leaving KRS and the requirements of the Planning Scheme Amendment." (More..)
1st March 2004 . Kew Cottages Coalition lodges its application with the National Trust to nominate the Holly-leaved Cherry tree near the Main Drive entrance of Kew Cottages to the Significant Trees Register (More..)
23rd February 2004.. Boroondara Council receives a report (1) on KRS and resolves:
2) Upon receipt of the (Kew Residential Services) development plan, immediately write to land owners and occupiers who were originally notified of the exhibition of Council’s Amendment C38, advising them of the release of the development plan, and seeking comment within a 14 day period. In addition, Council promote awareness of the opportunity for comment via the Progress Leader.
3. Write to the State Government and advise that Council finds unacceptable
(i) the lack of State Government consultation; and
(ii) the insufficient time allowed for Council to consult with its community.
15th February 2004.. The Protectors of Public Lands Action group (PPL) holds its first Public Forum at Melbourne Town Hall. (More..)
January 200422nd January 2004.. Kew Cottages Coalition lodges a submission with Heritage Victoria requesting a Heritage Register listing for Kew Cottages including Main Drive and associated avenues (Plan..)
17th January 2004.. The first meeting of Protectors of Public Lands (PPL) Vic is held at the North Melbourne Town Hall.
5th January 2004.. Kew Cottages Coalition writes to Mary Delahunty pointing out that one of the 300 year old red gums she had undertaken to protect in November as part of her C53 Planning Scheme Amendment was seriously at risk of damage, and the protective fencing recommended by her own consultants had still not been erected.
The Minister does not reply, however, the following week work on the new fencing begins.
July 2004Living with Autism
Wednesday 14 July 2004
Listen (Real Audio)
Autism is a complex developmental disability that affects up to 1% of the population and in the last decade there has been an exponential growth in the number of diagnoses in Australia. For families who live with an autistic child life is a daily struggle. Often the child does not speak, throws long temper tantrums, becomes obsessed with certain toys or objects, cannot be toilet trained and finds it difficult to interact with other children. A newly developed therapy called Applied Behaviour Analysis, which requires intensive one-on-one treatment for about eight hours a day, is having good results. However it costs about $50000 a year and is only subsidised in Western Australia. Many families cannot afford it and those who do are making sacrifices such as having the father live overseas in order to make enough money to pay for the therapy.
Guests on this program:
A mother of an autistic child.
A mother of a child with Asperger's Syndrome, a condition that is at the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum.
Gloria O’Brien, a Member of the Kew Cottages Parents’ Association writes to the Editor
of The Herald Sun newspaper:
As Aged Care is in the news, Kew Cottages land is going
up for sale. Should not most of this land be saved for the
aged, severely or profoundly disabled people of our
community, especially the group who are living at home
with their elderly parents who at times need respite from the
care of their disabled sons or daughters?
We know that there are over 4000 Victorians on the waiting
list for services. Most are all living at home with their
parents? Wouldn’t it be great if they could have some much
needed respite on the Kew Cottages site?
The Kew Cottages Parents Association is unsuccessful in its request for a meeting with Steve Bracks.
The Premier's Chief of Staff, Tim Pallas, replies to KCPA on Bracks' behalf saying inter alia:"On the matter of numbers remaining on site, the Government has madeThe Pallas letter does not make clear which 'stakeholders' the Premier has in mind, nor precisely who among the latter "preferred a lower number".
its position clear. The figure of 100 has been accepted by a range of
stakeholders, including those who preferred a lower number. In light of
this, the Department is reluctant to revisit this issue.” (More..)
In the face of the Government's obdurate evasion the Parents Association responds:The Association remains strongly of the view that, contrary to Mr Pallas’The Association publishes a full response and twelve point list of objectives in its May Newsletter.
advice, a range of accommodation options is not being offered to those moving
off site, and that the Department has not been responsive to catering to the
preferences of residents and families.
In addition, the Association continues to advocate for a significant increase in
the total number of KRS residents to live on the redeveloped site in recognition
of the real demand expressed by the residents and their families to remain on
We remind the Government that the Parents’ Association withdrew from
Minister Garbutt’s Site Forum in frustration due to the absence of any
discussion of such significant issues as accommodation choice, numbers to
remain on site and the provision of vital services (medical, dental and day
2nd May 2004 Geoffrey Rush and Barry Humphries plus a few thousand PPL and BRAG supporters with red balloons walk up Bourke Road to Camberwell Station in order express Community outrage at yet another failed Bracks' Government election promise:- "The Bracks Government will protect what you love about your neighbourhood" (Election Advert, Melbourne Times, 20/11/2002)
Letter to the Editor
April 30, 2004
It is hypocritical for Boroondara City Council to be opposing the presence of bats in parkland (The Age 29/4) while endorsing the sale of 27 hectares of publicly owned land - the Kew Cottages site - to a property developer.
Bill O'Connor, North Fitzroy
Back from the edge
The Age, A3 p.4
April 30, 2004
Many Victorians are falling though the cracks of our health care system but major efforts are being made to fill the gaps for one vulnerable group, writes Bettina Arndt....The story highlights one of the drawbacks of the 1980s shift away from housing people with disabilities in institutions to moving them out into the wider community. Not only are there young people who fall through the cracks, ending up in appalling circumstances, the responsibility for health care that was previously taken on by doctors and nurses within those institutions now rests with community-based GPs who do not have the training, experience or time to deal with some of the complicated problems of this group...
Families ‘forced to lie’ for disabled aid
The Sunday Age,
March 21, 2004
Services for the disabled are on the point of disintegration, with more than 3000 Victorian families waiting for supported residential accommodation for their children, according to disability advocacy groups.
Despite a 50 per cent rise in State Government funding, the Service Needs Register - essentially a waiting list for accommodation - has virtually stalled, the groups say.
They say the register has become a joke because exhausted families, on the point of breaking down, need to "sell" their situation as one of crisis - which often means portraying their relationship with their disabled children as abusive or at risk of turning abusive - just to get an "urgent" ranking on the list.
"You have to humiliate yourself to get heard," says Jenni Sewell of PINARC, a Ballarat disability service agency with 500 people on its books.
"Many families aren't bothering to get on the Service Needs Register because there's no point. It's not moving," says Margaret Ryan of the Disability Network, a lobby group that last year staged monthly protests at Parliament House. "Most people have no idea how difficult it is for families to get help in Victoria. Services are spread so thinly. Literally hundreds of families are falling apart and thousands of people are living in despair."
Many of those in crisis are elderly people caring for their middle-aged children who require 24-hour support. They have no idea what will happen to those adult children after they die. "We have parents in their 60s and 70s caring for children in their 40s and early 50s. You're talking about grown children who need their nappies changed... who have no survival skills whatsoever," says Ms Sewell
The Disability Network statistics show that last December, 5070 disabled people were in supported shared accommodation - group homes supervised at all times - and 3193 were waiting for a place, 1178 listed as urgent. "So for every 10 beds already occupied, there are six people waiting for a vacancy,' ' says Ryan.
The Bracks Government has boosted funding for disability services by $270 million since 1999 including a pledge of $77 million over four years in last May's budget. "But there's only been 6 per cent increase in the number of people getting residential places - which translates to 281 additional beds," says Ms Ryan.
A representative of Community Services Minister Sherryl Garbutt said: "The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates there will be a 50 per cent increase in the number of people with a severe or disability over the next 10 years. The Bracks Government recognises the increasing demands for disability services and we are taking action to address these pressures."
The Sunday Age
March 28 2004
Hope for the carers
Congratulations on John Elder's 'Families "forced to lie" for disabled aid' (21/3) about permanent accommodation for people with disabilities. As parents of an adult with an intellectual disability, we know how difficult it is to obtain accommodation facilities. We were fortunate to have our daughter placed about five years ago but only after years of struggle and hard work.
By publishing such articles, you give hope to desperate parents that something may be done to relieve their plight.
Carol and Jim Price,
Congratulations to John Elder. That there are more than 3000 people on the waiting list for accommodation is reprehensible. If there has been a boost to funding of services, then where has the money gone?
One answer may be the enormous cost of taking people from their homes, as in the case of Kew Cottages, and relocating them in the community. Whether they want to go or not is not an issue; choice does not seem to be an option for those with a disability. This needless cost of housing those that already have beds is depriving the 3000 waiting for a bed.
What sort of a society ignores the needs of the more vulnerable members of the community?
Avalon Centre Inc,
3rd March 2004.. Parity is the publication of the Council to Homeless Persons. The focus of their April 2003 Edition was "After Deinstitutionalisation". Extracts became available online in March 2004.
The latter include an article, "The End of Institutions, Housing and Homelessness", by the former Victorian Public Advocate, and now Associate Professor, Social Work, La Trobe University David Green.
Professor Green's article poses the argument that whilst funds have been transferred into community programs to supply the support that institutions previously provided, funds have not proportionately been transferred to supply the housing stock or accommodation capital. Green writes:
It is now clear that granting vulnerable people their freedom by closing institutions has not been the success that many of its advocates had hoped, and governments and experts had promised. The most significant change in the delivery of human services in the previous century has left this century with a new range of policy. service delivery and moral dilemmas. The consequences and costs of closing residential institutions have always been underestimated. And as with so many specific reforms in one arena of public policy, the complexity of the environment into which these reforms were projected was not understood. (More...) Green, D 'The End of Institutions: Housing and Homelessness' in Parity April 2003 Volume 16http://www.parity.infoxchange.net.au/group/noticeboard/items/20041227016b.shtml
10th February 2004. Kew Cottages Parents Association passes a unanimous vote of no confidence in Minister Garbutt’s management of the Kew Cottages Redevelopment (More..)
The KCPA calls for a meeting with the Premier on key issues of the project - that was recently declared of “state significance” by the Bracks Government.
President, Ian Whalley says, “Surely a Labour Government should be sensitive to the needs of these most vulnerable members of the Victorian community and their families? The Parents’ Association calls on the support of the Victorian community. ”
3rd February 2004.. Third DHS KRS Site Forum Meeting.
It was noted that KCPA had withdrawn from this process, and that:
" the Minister had confirmed the process for establishing the numbers on site and that this would not be revisited."(More..)
31st January 2004.. Department of Human Services AdvertisesTender for: Evaluation: Quality of Life Outcomes following Kew Residential Service Redevelopment
Tender No: T/EMR01/04
Comment: The DHS tender evaluation terms of reference sound strangely reminiscent of a large bank bent on deflecting criticism for closing yet another a local branch. Rather than starting by asking the local residents how services could be improved, and offering a reasonable range of choices, the bank puts all its resources into evaluating the introduction of ATM machines for its customers. Read "customers" for "residents" and "ATM" for "CRU" in this tender document and you start to get the picture on why some 'large institutions' can often appear, no doubt despite the best of intentions, to be tarred with the same brush... (More..)
27th January 2004.. Second DHS KRS Site Forum Meeting. The Parents' Association finds that although some of its family members have lived at Kew for over 50 years it is still impossible to get straight answers from DHS - even to simple questions like:
- Why are only 100 of the existing 460 residents earmarked to remain on site ?
- When will DHS table their VicUrban KRS Masterplan for consideration by the Parents’ Association and other key stakeholders?
The Parents Association reluctantly concludes it has no option but to withdraw from the forum in protest at the Minister's failure to provide residents with adequate and comprehensive consultation. (More..)
20th January 2004.. Department of Human Services convenes first KRS Site Forum. Despite the Minister's commitment to a Forum which will consult with the "KPA (Kew Parents Association) and other interested groups", the Parents' Association is surprised to find that the only other "interested groups" invited to the Forum are in fact all Government funded organisations. (More..)
Are our rights disappearing into a 'St Kilda triangle'?
Ken Duxbury, East Kew
July 22, 2004
"...The argument that third-party appeal rights must be denied in order to provide "certainty" for potential developers is hardly compelling, given that almost all major - and many minor - development proposals in Victoria have been subject to third-party appeal rights for the past 90 years. The removal of third-party rights would mean that developers of this public land would have less need to address the reasonable concerns of third parties than would developers of nearby privately owned sites. This creates a distorted planning system where potentially objectionable and/or over-intense developments tend to gravitate to publicly owned land...."
April 28, 2004
Camberwell residents say it will destroy their suburb. The State Government says it is a modest proposal.
Either way, the dispute over plans to redevelop Camberwell station is proving a major test of the
Government's resolve to reshape Melbourne. James Button reports.
State failed disabled children, report finds
By Sean Nicholls
Sydney Morning Herald
April 15, 2004
Steve Bracks is starting to look like Jeff Kennett
April 12, 2004
Families 'forced' to lie' for disabled aid
March 21, 2004
If only the Premier had a grander vision for our city
March 11, 2004
"Let my brother stay"
January 10, 2004
(Reprinted: Kew Cottages Parents' Association Newsletter, February 2004)
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