FEDERAL Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters has labelled a lack of appropriate housing for Bendigo's disabled adults or respite care for their families a "ticking time bomb".
It follows calls by an Eaglehawk family for a taskforce to look at the accommodation crisis surrounding adult disabled children.
Carolyn O'Sullivan, whose adult disabled daughter has serious behavioural issues, outlined how it impacted her family in a letter to the Bendigo Advertiser last week.
She described how she was forced to make the heart-wrenching decision a year ago to relinquish care of her 19-year-old daughter, only to learn there was nowhere she could go.
The letter also highlighted the plight faced by many families living with adult disabled children who struggle to find appropriate services.
Ms Chesters said the O'Sullivan family's situation was unfortunately not uncommon and that she regularly met with parents and carers of disabled children who faced similar difficulties.
"It is a ticking time bomb, these issues," she said.
"For too long, local, state and federal governments as well as the not-for-profit sector have relied on parents and carers to care for their disabled children."
Ms Chesters said in some cases community groups had been responsible for innovating and paving the way forward in building their own respite care facilities, which showed that families needed more choices.
"The huge white elephant in the corner is what to do long term," she said.
"Government policy needs to start focusing on multiple options for families and start building permanent housing options, decent respite facilities, or decent in-home respite options.
"It’s not an issue I find is partisan, it's an issue which comes back to funding.
"It's about local, state and federal governments coming together and saying we need to fund this properly."
Ms Chesters said the issue was nothing new to Bendigo and surrounding areas but one that had been hidden for a long time.
"In central Victoria, there's a chronic shortage of housing options for people with a disability, there's not enough invested in this space," she said.
In some cases, parents of disabled adults were entering their twilight years and the question then became what happened when the carers themselves died, Ms Chesters said.
"We have this terrible tragedy in Australian policy where we swing from institutionalisation to no services or stability," she said.
"It is now time for a mature conversation about creating multiple options for families."
State Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan also responded to Mrs O'Sullivan's letter and said it was hard not to be touched by the difficulties faced by the family.
"The situation described by Carolyn was incredibly heartfelt and challenging to read," she said.
"I intend to raise these specific circumstances with Minister Disability and Ageing Martin Foley this week and will also talk to him about the roll-out of National Disability Insurance Scheme and what this will mean for those in this situation."
On Sunday Mrs O'Sullivan said she was pleased responses to the letter had been forthcoming but was cautious about the outcome.
"If we can get the governments together and make it about doing the right thing, and actually involve the parents in the model, that would be good," she said.
"I want someone to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty and give us some real help."