• Organisation

Authority for Intellectually Handicapped Persons


The Authority for Intellectually Handicapped Persons (AIH) was formed by the Authority for Intellectually Handicapped Persons Act 1985. Its role was to advance the ‘rights, responsibility, dignity, development and community participation of people with intellectual disability in Western Australia’. The AIH ran many hostels and developed a Local Area Coordination service to assist people with disability in country WA.

In 1981, the ‘International Year of Disabled Persons’, the Western Australian government commissioned a report on the delivery of services to people with intellectual disability. The ‘Beacham Report’ as it was known, recommended removing these services from the Health Department and creating a separate statutory authority. Legislation to do this, the Authority for Intellectually Handicapped Persons Act 1985 passed in October 1985. The Act enabled the Authority to appoint a Board of Management. The Authority for Intellectually Handicapped Persons (AIH) replaced the Division for the Intellectually Handicapped (DIH) on 1 January 1986.

The AIH retained the name ‘Irrabeena’ for its service delivery arm. Irrabeena had been the name used by the DIH, which had adopted the name originally given to the assessment centre by the Slow Learning Children’s Group.

By 1989, Irrabeena was providing support services, funding and coordination of public and private sector residential facilities. The AIH established a number of hostels in the metropolitan area. These hostels provided indefinite and short-stay accommodation.

‘Historically, there has been little government-owned residential accommodation outside the metropolitan area’ (Stella, p.128). In 1986, the AIH established Regional Advisory Councils whose membership included people with intellectual disabilities, their families and other people from the community. A Local Area Coordination service started in Albany in 1988. The Local Area Coordination service aimed to provide people with disabilities and their families with respite care, and local service delivery that would support people to live at home and participate in community and family life. Local Area Coordination expanded to other country areas in 1989, to Perth in 1991 and to all areas of the State by 2000.

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