Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (22:48): The adjournment matter that I raise is to the Minister for Corrections, and the action I seek is for the minister to commit to extending the pilot program for the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre disability and complex needs team.
An audit of Victoria’s prisons in 2011 found that 33 per cent—a third—of all females in those prisons had been diagnosed with an acquired brain injury. In October I raised this issue with the minister at the time about the need to have more support for people with acquired brain injuries in our prison system. Since then the government has announced a pilot program to support women with ABIs at Dame Phyllis Frost. This is a small but dedicated team of occupational therapists, disability support workers and national disability insurance scheme access staff. These people do a brilliant job, and they have worked with these women to get the most out of life. I mean, women with ABIs do not belong in prison, but if they are there, it is good that they have some support.
Unfortunately the funding for this program is only for one year. This program should not have to run the gauntlet for recurrent funding every 12 months. If we are going to put people in prison with acquired brain injuries, then we must support them to improve their lives. Not only should this program be extended, but if the need is there it should be extended to Tarrengower Prison in Bendigo so women there can get the support that they need. The action I seek is for the government to commit funding to this program for the next four years to ensure the staff and women involved with the program have some certainty.