Media Releases

Mum’s wheelchair of Xmas past must be replaced – pronto

Dignity Party MLC Kelly Vincent is calling on the Minister for Disabilities to end the crisis-driven approach to disability equipment provision in South Australia this holiday season.

“Last week, a month after first contacting the Minister’s office seeking intervention, I took the unusual step of taking the issue of a mother’s urgent request for a reliable, working wheelchair to the media,” says Kelly Vincent.

“Now, and presumably as a result of the resulting television coverage, Disabilities Minister, Leesa Vlahos, has finally requested that her Department take action. This means that new mum, Alicia, may be provided with a working wheelchair by March, 2017.

“But then on Friday (16.12.2016), a worker from the equipment maintenance section telephoned Alicia and advised her that her current wheelchair is safe to use – despite the fact that the wheelchair had stopped working whilst she was crossing a busy road several weeks ago, and that she had been advised it was unsafe.

“It is outrageous that the Minister thinks it’s okay to wait until television cameras start rolling before finally taking action, surely the safety and independence of a new mother and her baby should be of paramount importance.

“Understandably, this young mum does not feel safe carrying her baby in her 14 year-old, decrepit and unreliable wheelchair.  She urgently requires an assessment and a fitting for a new wheelchair.  Alicia has been using this wheelchair since she was 16, she’s now 30.

“Naturally, people with disabilities want to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends yet young mum, Alicia, and her three-month old baby, Reece, cannot independently leave their house.

“The Minister must intervene in this ongoing fiasco for Alicia, and also urgently review the waiting list for all disability equipment that is essential to basic mobility, to ensure that Disability SA prioritises people with disabilities getting a fair go this holiday season.