E-BLAST: Contact numbers for urgent assistance in flood recovery

Dear QDN members in Townsville and surrounding areas including West, North, Far North Queensland and the Gulf communities and QDN supporters

Please know you are all in our thoughts as you begin the process of recovery after the extreme weather conditions in your communities. We hope you have all remained safe and gotten through this weather event without injury and with minimal damage to your personal property. For those requiring urgent assistance and as you move into the clean-up and recovery phase, QDN has compiled the following list of contact numbers that may be useful to you:

Urgent Qld Government Housing assistance as a result of a weather event:  13 74 68

State Emergency Service (SES):  132 500

Ergon Energy:  13 22 96 (faults only 24 hrs/7 days per week) or 13 74 66 (7 am – 5.30 pm Mon – Fri)

Townsville City Council

 Townsville City Council have an Emergency Management Dashboard website with a wide range of useful information. Website address is http://disaster.townsville.qld.gov.au/

13 48 10 – Business hours – can also call this number in an emergency after hours. Business Hours – 8am – 5pm Monday to Friday (Closed public holidays)

Department of Communities – State Government Assistance

Community Recovery Hotline:  1800 173 349

Other grants such as the Essential Household Contents Grant, Essential Services Safety and Reconnection Grant and Structural Assistance Grant, which are income tested, are also available to eligible residents who are uninsured and have experienced certain loss or damage following this disaster.

The grants are made available through jointly-funded Commonwealth/State-Disaster Relief Funding Arrangements.

For more information on the grants, financial assistance and locations of community recovery hub, go to www.qld.gov.au/community/disasters-emergencies/queensland-disasters/fnq-monsoonal-trough or contact the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349

Federal Government

Australian Government Information Hotline on 180 22 66 for claims for assistance.  Please note, people have until 8 August 2019 to apply.



MEDIA RELEASE: Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Reforms to improve choice, inclusion and control for Queenslanders with disability

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) welcomes the announcement on 8 February 2019, by the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Families and Social Services that is introducing reforms to  remove barriers to access to Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) housing for eligible National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants.

Ms Paige Armstrong (Chief Executive Officer – QDN) said, “I am very pleased to see these reforms. We know that it is everyone’s fundamental right to have a place to call home so it is positive to see these recommendations that will deliver greater choice and control by people with disability who are eligible for SDA housing. QDN supported and contributed to the Summer Foundation submission that was put forward to the Federal Government about the changes needed to deliver better access and outcomes to SDA, so it is great to see the reforms reflecting what stakeholders have identified.”  These reforms will stimulate construction and supply of SDA properties, creating more diverse accommodation options for NDIS participants. Ms Armstrong said” QDN’s Housing Position Paper, “Going for Gold: Accessible, Affordable Housing Now” is built upon 4 principles of rights, choice, inclusion and control. From QDN’s work in the housing space, we know how important it is to have a range of strategies in place that enable all parts of the market to achieve more accessible and inclusive housing. It is positive to see these actions focus on increasing choice and control for eligible participants, and respond to market needs to increase confidence and drive greater investment.”

Mr Nigel Webb, Chairperson QDN Board of Directors said he was delighted that for the first time, SDA will be included in participants plans up front, so participants, their carers or families can go into the market and find or commission a home that suits their individual needs. “Participants will have more control about  where they want to live and with whom they want.  Changes to the SDA rules will allow SDA participants to live with non-SDA participants and share rooms, which is critical to keeping families together. However more work needs to be done around removing the barriers and disincentives. It is vital that the 28,000 Australians with disability who need SDA housing can get what they need, in a timely and straightforward way, so it is very positive to see the proposed changes that are going to assist this to happen”, he said.

In support of these reforms the NDIA will establish an SDA Reference Group, representing participants, providers, investors and other key stakeholders, to build the SDA market. Providers will be encouraged to commit to SDA with the current prices being extended to 2023 and a special price review to increase prices for sub-market SDA payment levels.

QDN welcomes the agreed reforms that includes the setting up of a national SDA panel to fast track SDA approvals for those with the most urgent needs, such as young people with disability living in aged or nursing care homes and participants in hospital waiting for appropriate housing.

The Disability Reform Council (DRC) has agreed to a number of actions that will be in operation by July 2019, and QDN is pleased that this will focus on giving participants clear, consolidated information, and driving innovative design and responses as part of an SDA innovation plan. KPMG was commissioned to review the SDA framework and pricing and has made 18 recommendations. The full report can be found at this link.

QDN commends the NDIA for acting quickly on the reforms and welcomes changes which will result in more choice, inclusion and control for Queenslanders with disability.

A copy of QDN’s housing position paper “Going for Gold: Accessible, Affordable Housing Now” can be found here

Contact: Paige Armstrong, CEO, QDN, Ph: 0408720099

E-Blast: The Public Advocate 2018 Report and Summary

This year the work of the Public Advocate has primarily focused on:

  1. the aged care sector, with a particular focus on the use of unregulated restrictive practices and elder abuse;
  2. monitoring aspects of the operation of the mental health system and the Mental Health Review Tribunal and the treatment of involuntary patients;
  3. working with government to settle a plan for implementation of the recommendations of the Public Advocate’s report Upholding the right to life and health;
  4. monitoring of the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Queensland; and
  5. the operation of the forensic disability service and its treatment of residents of the service.

Mary Burgess, Public Advocate for Queensland said in the report “I would like to make some general observations about the treatment of people with disability by some government agencies and systems in Queensland. While we have some very positive and effective legislation guided by human rights principles, which require decision-makers to proactively consider and protect the human rights of people with disability, there are significant examples across systems of this not being achieved in practice.”

A legislative framework will only be effective in protecting people’s rights if those working under it are committed to that outcome and respect the law and people’s rights and there are mechanisms for oversight and accountability.

These observations apply equally to the operation of the forensic disability system and the involuntary mental health system and the way people detained under those systems are treated, despite both systems having rights-focused legislative frameworks.

These system failings underline the continuing need for human rights defender agencies like my office, the Public Guardian, the Queensland Ombudsman and the Anti-Discrimination Commission to be adequately funded to fulfil our functions.

A summary QDN has prepared of The Public Advocate 2018 Report can be accessed online at this link https://qdn.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/The-Public-Advocate-2018-report-and-summary.docx

 The full report can be accessed online at the link below:  https://www.justice.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/589291/Public-Advocate-Annual-Report-2017-18.pdf

QDN Board elections 2018

QDN’s Annual General Meeting was held on Saturday 3 November 2018 with over 50 people in attendance. We would like to thank all QDN members from across the state for your engagement, feedback, voice, experiences, efforts and energy, which is the heart of QDN. To our allies and supporters we also extend our thanks for your work in partnership and delivering on common goals and outcomes.

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