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Millions offered to disabled NSW residents

AAP logoAAP 7/10/2016 Rebekah Ison

The state government and operator of a central NSW residential centre have agreed to pay $4.05 million to people with disabilities, who were allegedly assaulted, locked in a room and denied access to their money.

About 50 people, who were residents of the Grand Western Lodge at Millthorpe between 2000 and 2011, are part of the class action against the centre's manager Adrian Powell, his company and the State of NSW.

The action alleges Mr Powell and members of a committee of residents assaulted people and locked some in a room, sometimes for weeks, at the back of the centre as punishment.

One resident was threatened with death, pulled from his bed onto the floor and kicked and punched several times after running away, according to an amended statement of claim published on the Maurice Blackburn website.

Barrister Paul Batley on Friday said some of the undiagnosed residents were given psychotropic medication and were "reduced to a state of being unable to exercise any real control".

"They had no access to money, they had no means of organising themselves individually," Mr Batley alleged in the Federal Court in Sydney.

"When they did depart from Grand Western Lodge, they were inevitably rounded up either with the assistance of police or staff members and returned."

It is also alleged residents were made to do lawn mowing work and were denied control of their pensions.

But none of the claims has been proved in court and Mr Powell and his company Avibin Pty Ltd, which operated the licence granted by the state, continue to deny them.

The court heard the 51 class action members had a range of health problems, including mental illness, intellectual disabilities and brain injuries.

Seven have died since the start of proceedings.

Affected former residents and family members will now be notified of the proposed settlement and have a chance to object before the matter returns for an approval application hearing in November.

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