Royal Commission into violence against people with a disability to be raised at COAG

“I congratulate the NSW Minister for Ageing and Disability Services John Ajaka on his commitment to raise the call for a Royal Commission into violence, neglect and abuse against people with a disability at the next meeting of the Council of Australian Governments”, said Ms Jan Barham, Greens NSW spokesperson for Ageing and Disability.

 

This week, in response to Ms Barham’s question as to whether Minister Ajaka would commit to propose or support through the COAG Disability Reform Council a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability, the Minister stated that he would ‘raise this question by Ms Jan Barham at the next COAG meeting because this question deserves the respect of all Ministers responsible.”

 

“I am pleased the Minister will be taking this important issue to the next meeting of COAG.”

 

“This week, we heard a report that an estimated 90 per cent of women with an intellectual disability have been the victim of sexual assault. This is a shocking figure and underscores the need for a full investigation into the prevalence of abuse committed against people with a disability in Australia”.

 

Late last year the Australian Senate Inquiry into abuse against people with a disability in institutional settings chaired by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert recommended that there must be a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect against people with a disability.

 

“All people with a disability have a right to be safe from harm, whether they live in the community or an institutional setting. A Royal Commission would shine a light on abuses committed against people with disability and help address this shocking problem.”

 

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Jan’s question without notice to the Minister and the Minister’s response: http://bit.ly/1ZuYbZe

Senate Inquiry into violence, neglect and abuse against people with a disability in institutional settings: http://bit.ly/1MBKr9Q

‘Australia’s most shocking statistic: Sexual abuse and domestic violence against women with disabilities’ Ginger Gorman – news.com.au: http://bit.ly/1LA2ws5

National Close the Gap Day

“Today marks ten years since the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee was formed to address the unacceptable gap in health and life expectancy outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people in Australia”, said Ms Jan Barham, Greens NSW spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs.

“The Close the Gap Campaign aims to close the life expectancy gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by 2030. However, there remains much to do, with the latest Close the Gap Report showing that life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is still around ten years less than that of non-Indigenous people.”

“The latest report shows that Close the Gap indicators must be broadened to include incarceration rates to ensure that a more holistic approach is taken to achieve equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

“The Parliament recently supported my motion calling on the Premier to implement a NSW Close the Gap Strategy for New South Wales to collect meaningful data on incarceration rates, community safety, child removal and disability-related issues. It’s critical that this Strategy is localised so that Indigenous disadvantage can be addressed in all regions and communities across the State, and inform government programs and funding.”

The 2016 Report made clear that Australia must renew efforts to Close the Gap, stating:

“We can and want to be the generation that closes the gap but we must stay the course and keep our attention and resources focused on this goal. The health gap has rightfully been described as a stain on our nation, and this generation has the opportunity and responsibility to remove it.”[1]

More than 1,500 events have been registered to mark National Close the Gap Day today, and 220,000 people have called on governments to take action to achieve health and life expectancy equality for Indigenous people by 2030.

“I congratulate the Close the Gap Steering Committee, its members, supporters of the campaign as well as all organisations that are working with Indigenous communities to eliminate health and life expectancy inequality by 2030.”

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Jan’s motion calling for a NSW Close the Gap Strategy: http://bit.ly/1nPD6ej

The Close the Gap Steering Committee Progress and Priorities report 2016: http://bit.ly/1Q7MozF

[1] The Close the Gap Steering Committee Progress and Priorities report 2016: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-social-justice/publications/close-gap-progress p.2

Greens call for investigation of Gold Coast Airport PFOS/PFOA soil contamination

Lindy Smith, Dawn Walker, Jan Barham MLC, Cr Gary Bagnall and Mayor Katie Milne visit the Crown Reserve affected by Gold Coast airport expansion

North Coast Greens MP Jan Barham and Environment spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi have called on the NSW Government to investigate and provide information about the soil contamination involving potentially carcinogenic chemicals at Gold Coast Airport.

Greens Environment spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC said: “This contamination involves the same perfluorocarbon chemicals that affected surface and ground water at the Williamtown RAAF base in the Hunter, affecting fisheries and prompting health warnings and multiple investigations.

“I wrote to the Environment Minister back in October last year seeking information as to whether what happened at Williamtown could happen anywhere else in the State and did not receive a reply. People shouldn’t have to find out about major contaminations by accident.

“I’ve lodged questions on notice in Parliament asking the Environment Minister whether the NSW Government had been informed about this contamination and seeking an investigation of the extent of the contamination and the risks it might pose to the surrounding region.

“The Cobaki Broadwater and its biodiversity deserve protection under the Ramsar Convention so it’s crucial for the Minister to ensure there is no risk to the wetland and the Tweed region.”

Greens North Coast spokesperson Jan Barham MLC said: “The presence of these toxic and persistent chemicals at Gold Coast Airport is a cause for concern in the Tweed region, and the NSW Government needs to provide information to the community.

“I’m troubled that this information has only come to light after the airport’s proposed Instrument Landing System (ILS) was approved and the final Major Development Plan was released.

“The draft plan that was released for public comments last year didn’t mention these chemicals, despite the fact that their use in firefighting was discontinued around 2010.

“In question time today I’ll call on the Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water to act to halt the installation of the ILS on NSW Crown Land until a full Environmental Impact Assessment and investigation of the potential impacts have been undertaken.

“The NSW Government has to respond urgently to address the concerns of the Tweed community.”

Contacts for further comment:
– Matt Hilton for Mehreen Faruqi 9230 2625 / 0423 106 247
– Jan Barham 0447 853 891

BACKGROUND:
Questions on notice to Environment Minister
Watch question time 2:30pm-3:30pm today

Tragic death highlights need for 24/7 registered nursing in nursing homes

Traffic warning sign - frail or older people

A Victorian Coroner has found that a 76 year-old woman should have been sent straight to hospital after a fall in a nursing home. The home had no registered nurse on duty at the time and the Coroner described the initial assessments she received by enrolled nurses as “inadequate” and “deficient”.

 

Mrs Ena Vickers suffered a fall at midday on Monday 30 July 2012 and was not seen by a registered nurse until some four hours later. She was then transferred to hospital, where it was found she had suffered fractures and bleeding around her brain. Mrs Vickers died on 4 August 2012.

 

“This is a tragic case that sadly shows what can happen when there is no registered nurse on duty at all times”, said Ms Jan Barham, NSW Greens spokesperson on Ageing.

 

“Although an immediate assessment by a registered nurse and transfer to hospital may not have changed the outcome, it may have reduced any suffering experienced by Mrs Vickers after the fall.”

 

“Because there was no registered nurse on duty at the time of her fall, Mrs Vickers was attended to by personal care assistants and enrolled nurses. I don’t want to downplay the skills of these employees, but the Coroner found that Mrs Vickers should have been examined by a registered nurse or medical practitioner straight after her fall because of the seriousness of the situation.”

 

“Last year I chaired an inquiry into registered nurses in NSW nursing homes, which found that a registered nurse should be on duty at all times so that they can respond to incidents like this one.”

 

“I understand that Mrs Vickers had high-care needs and a history of Parkinson’s and dementia. Our inquiry found that registered nurses are critical in the care of such residents because they can exercise their professional judgement about their clinical care needs.”

 

The NSW Government is currently reviewing its state regulation for nursing homes to have a registered nurse on duty at all times. There is no similar Commonwealth requirement, despite it being the primary regulator of aged care.

 

“I call on the NSW Government to adopt the recommendation made by the NSW Inquiry to have a registered nurse on duty at all times in nursing homes where people have high care needs.”

 

“I also extend my condolences to the family of Mrs Vickers.”

 

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

 

Victorian Coroner’s findings into the death of Mrs Ena Edith Vickers: http://bit.ly/1TcuRH5

NSW Inquiry into Registered nurses in New South Wales nursing homes:
http://bit.ly/1WY8LpS