Last Monday night I watched Four Corners. I couldn't sleep that night because I was saddened by what I'd seen.
Australia's disabled community is in crisis. Thirty years ago the government reformed care for the disabled by taking them out of institutions and putting them in homes or supporting them in community living. To accomplish this they promised a major injection of funds for support.
Over the years, the funds have dried up, and as a result many of the disabled are cared for at home by their ageing parents with no support. The carer's job is twenty-four seven with a reliance on other family members for time out. They are emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausted because of the lack of assistance.
Why are the cries of such a needy section of our community only now being heard? Some of the schools these children attend are stretched to the limit. Government funding is becoming less and less and the schools are closing their doors.
The government knows the reality of this crisis and has set up a Productivity Commission Inquiry to investigate a new scheme. The sad part is that this new inquiry may take anything from five to seven years to investigate, and implement the new system. Meanwhile the carers and their families are burning out, and the children are missing out on basic care and education.
What happens to the children when the carers die? A tough question that needs a quick answer. Daily round the clock care is what these children need.
Families are so desperate some are seeking placement overseas for their children which means added costs of emigrating they can't afford. They can't wait until the government completes its inquiry and develops a new system.
A comparison - the government spends millions of dollars on mentally and physcially fit people training them to become the elite in their chosen sport, meanwhile our disabled community is crying out for the basic education and care we all take for granted.
I think our priorities are back to front, don't you?