27 05 2008

Outing ban on boy

by George Ierodiaconou

27 May 2008

Sunbury Leader

http://www.sunburyleader.com.au/article/2008/05/27/35909_srv_news.html

A Sunbury boy was excluded from three Hume Council-run excursions because of his disability, his mother claims.

Blake Biasin, 11, who has epilepsy and a learning disability, was told he could not attend Hume Council excursions to the Melbourne and Sunbury aquatic centres and a Sunshine cinema in January, says his mother, Karin.

Chasing seagulls, “monopolising” a jumping castle and wandering off during previous excursions are stated as reasons for his omission, and that it takes three carers to control him.

It is not clear whether the council intends to ban Blake from future council-run holiday programs.

Ms Biasin has lodged a complaint with the Human Rights and Equal opportunity Commission over the matter.

She said the council had discriminated against her son because he had an intellectual disability. “Blake needs some support to assist him,” Ms Biasin said.

“If clear and consistent boundaries are set from the start he is very co-operative.

“He loves being with other children.”

Hume Council receives a fee towards the cost of employing additional staff to take Blake and other children with disabilities on excursions as part of the Department of Human Services Inclusion Support fund.

The fund is designed to integrate children with a learning disability in to mainstream programs, including children’s holiday programs.

Hume Council Communities director Mike Webb refused to discuss Blake’s case.

“It is not appropriate for council to discuss the personal details of children in council’s care in the public domain,” he said.

Anti-Discrimination consultant Julie Phillips said occupation health and safety legislation was being used by some organisations to deny people with disabilities access to services or education.

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