New legislation to ensure quality of NDIS services

The Turnbull Government will today introduced legislation to establish the new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quality and Safeguards Commission.

Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said the proposed changes to the NDIS Act 2013 would create the Commission and give it powers to regulate NDIS providers, oversee quality and safety of their services and supports, investigate and determine complaints and uphold the rights of people with disability.

“This legislation delivers on the Turnbull Government’s commitment in the 2017 Budget to establish the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, which will oversee protections for NDIS participants as the scheme is progressively rolled out across Australia,” Mr Porter said.

“The Commission represents a major turning point in efforts to provide protection to the most vulnerable people in our community, by providing a single, national body with responsibility for quality and safeguards for NDIS participants’ right across Australia,” the Minister said.

$209 million over four years is allocated in the 2017-18 years to establish the Commission.

“The Commission will support NDIS participants to exercise choice and control, ensure appropriate safeguards are in place, and establish expectations for providers and their staff to deliver quality supports and services,” the Minister said.

“Ensuring the safety of people with disability receiving NDIS supports and services is paramount, and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission will ensure we have nationally consistent protections in place when the NDIS reaches full scheme.

“The Commission will set standards, investigate complaints and reportable incidents, enforce an NDIS code of conduct, and work with the states and territories to implement a nationally consistent policy for screening workers.

“The new national system will mean a single registration process for providers, regardless of how many jurisdictions they operate in, reduce red tape, duplication and provide national consistency.”

The Minister said the Commission would have oversight of behaviour supports with the aim of reducing and eliminating restrictive practices, such as the use of physical restraints. The Commission will have an educative role, helping to strengthen the capability of people with disability, workers, and providers under the NDIS.

The Commission would be able to use a range of regulatory powers to correct problems, including the ability to ban unsafe and negligent providers.

The Commission will be established in early 2018 and will assume its responsibilities as the NDIS reaches full scheme across Australia. In New South Wales and South Australia, the scheme will be fully implemented by July 2018. Remaining states reach full scheme in July 2019, except Western Australia which is expected to reach full scheme in July 2020.

“Until the Commission’s powers come into effect, people with disability receiving NDIS supports and services continue to be protected by the existing state and territory quality and safeguards systems,” the Minister said.

“The Commission will work closely with state governments to ensure a smooth transition to the new national system at full scheme.”

Consultation on a draft NDIS Code of Conduct – which will be enforced by the Commission once established - is open until Wednesday 21 June.  The community is encouraged to be involved in the development of the Code of Conduct by visiting engage.dss.gov.au.