Maritime Union of Australian National Secretary Paddy Crumlin has called for a national inquiry into abuse in the disability sector following a string of disturbing media reports, including those relating to Yooralla.
Mr Crumlin, who served on the federal government’s National Disability Advisory Council from 2007 to 2013, said the reports reveal systemic failure in the disability care sector and underlined the urgent need for greatly tightened accreditation.
“It is crucial that our most potentially vulnerable Australians are being cared for by people who are registered, accredited, and appropriately trained,” Mr Crumlin said.
“Of course the vast majority of workers in the disability sector are doing an amazing job in a challenging field, but that only underscores the need to get this right. The terrific work of the many shouldn’t be undermined by a handful of bad apples who - under the current system - are able to slip through the cracks.
“Australians with disabilities deserve safety, dignity, and respect. We can only ensure this if their carers are consistently up to scratch.
“We should also acknowledged that is as much about protecting the reputation and standards of disability care workers as it is about Australians with disabilities. Workers are saying loud and clear that they want clear guidelines, and stringent training and accreditation processes so that the kind of horrors that have occurred at Yooralla never happen again.
“How we look after those who need help is how we can rate ourselves as a society. Reform in this area is a simple step we can take right now to ensure the horrific abuses we have heard about through the media are not repeated.
“The federal government has a responsibility to act swiftly and decisively.”