On 28 October 2008, the Deputy-Premier, Lara Giddings, moved that, following the closure of the Royal Derwent Hospital, also known as Willow Court, the House of Assembly endorse the principle that all people with disabilities receive support in the community rather than in an institution. She called for underpinning legislation. All political parties endorsed the motion.
Giddings moved that the House of Assembly:
(1) Recognises that institutional care is no longer appropriate for people with disabilities.
(2) Notes the institutional facility for people with disabilities, Willow Court, officially closed its doors in October 2000.
(3) Endorses the policy of all Tasmanian parties that primary care and support for people with disabilities be provided in the community.
(4) Refers to the Joint Standing Committee on Community Development to investigate and report on:-
(a) the objectives, outcomes and principles that should form the basis of a new Disability Services Act to ensure the approach of institutional care as experienced in Willow Court cannot happen again.
(b) that the legislative outcomes reflect the Tasmanian Government's obligation to protect human rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons: and
(c) that the quality and safety framework governing specialist disability service provision is consistent with modern approaches to service provision.
The motion followed a submission made by National Disability Services and its State Manager, Margaret Reynolds, who had worked as a teacher at Lachlan Park, the Royal Derwent Hospital's forerunner, in the early 1960s.
The new Disability Services Act passed through both Houses of Parliament in September 2011. However, the former residents of the Royal Derwent Hospital have never received an apology.
Sources used to compile this entry: Tasmanian government declares never again to institution days, Institution watch: international edition, Canada, November 2008, https://web.archive.org/web/20090223220210/http://institutionwatch.ca:80/cms-filesystem-action?file=newsletters/fall_2008_2.pdf.
Prepared by: Caroline Evans
Created: 6 May 2014, Last modified: 7 May 2014