DISABILITY Services Minister John Ajaka visited the Stockton Centre yesterday to meet parents of residents concerned about state government plans to close the facility.
A spokesman for the minister was unable yesterday to say what was said at the meeting, which lasted for more than an hour yesterday morning.
But Stockton parent Wendy Cuneo said about 25 people had met Mr Ajaka and his advisers, who had gone on a ‘‘quick tour’’ of the grounds.
Mrs Cuneo said Mr Ajaka promised to come back in a month’s time and ‘‘see the place properly’’. ‘‘He also promised to come back with answers to our questions,’’ Mrs Cuneo said.
She said the families had been given just 24 hours’ notice of the minister’s visit, and families had come from as far afield as Jervis Bay and Tamworth.
Legislation relating to the National Disability Insurance Scheme was introduced into State Parliament on Tuesday but did not pass both houses of parliament as the government had hoped.
Mr Ajaka’s spokesman said the government hoped to resume debate when Parliament returned.
NSW Nurses’ Association delegate Michael Grant said his union met yesterday to discuss how best to fight the closure plan.
He said the nurses’ association would work closely with the other main union at Stockton, the Public Service Association.
‘‘We had a pretty heated discussion about it today,’’ Mr Grant said. ‘‘The NDIS might be a great thing for people living in the community with milder disability but for the clients here, with multiple issues and high-level disability, closing here is not the answer.’’
The future of the Stockton Centre and residential care facilities at Tomaree and Kanangra (Morisset) have been under a cloud since the Newcastle Herald revealed the state government’s intentions to privatise disability services as part of the NDIS.
A pre-existing program to ‘‘redevelop’’ Stockton, Tomaree and Kanangra has been caught up in the NDIS, with the state and federal governments signing a ‘‘heads of agreement’’ detailing the privatisation of NSW disability services in December.
Queensland and Western Australia are also proposing to privatise disability services but at least one state government, South Australia, has said it will retain its services.