Michelle Lensink

Disability Inclusion Bill

Remarks on Disability Inclusion Bill.


The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I rise to place some remarks on the record in relation
to this bill. As honourable members would be aware, the National Disability Insurance Scheme
(NDIS) is currently being rolled out across Australia, including South Australia. Under the NDIS the
state government will no longer directly fund disability services; instead, they will be administered by
the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), which will work directly with eligible participants to
establish personalised plans based on their needs and goals, and give them choice and control over
their own lives, which I think is something that is universally supported.

Following the full implementation of the NDIS, the Disability Services Act 1993, which was
designed to regulate services and provide funding mechanisms, will therefore become redundant.
This particular bill promotes the rights and inclusion of people living with a disability in
South Australia. It establishes a framework to ensure a coordinated and consistent planning
approach is taken across state and local government to provide greater equality and access to
services and facilities.

One of the key components of the bill is to require the state government to develop a state
disability inclusion plan, which is part 4 of the bill, which will be reviewed once every four years and
requires annual reports on its operation. It also requires all state departments, statutory authorities
and local councils to develop disability and access inclusion plans. That is part 5 of the bill. The
DAIPs must align with the six outcomes of the National Disability Strategy and adhere to those
guidelines and regulations. Whilst many departments and a few local councils already have a DAIP,
the bill prescribes that agencies produce an annual report from which a statewide summary will be
presented to the minister. The plans can be updated at any time but must at least be reviewed, with
a report submitted, once every four years.

Another key component of the bill is the establishment of an updated disability screening
scheme which will apply to service providers operating under the NDIS, as per the national Quality
and Safeguarding Framework. The details of what will be contained in this will be in the regulations,
which will depend on negotiations at a national level. However, the state government has indicated
that they are aiming for the standard that currently applies to working with children checks.

Under the bill, any person working with a person living with a disability who does not hold a
current screening check will face a maximum fine of $20,000 for the first or second offence, and
$50,000 or imprisonment for one year for a third or subsequent offences. Any person who has been
deemed a prohibited person, which is someone who does not have a check, found working with a
person living with a disability will face fines or potential imprisonment.

The bill also has a provision for the establishment of a community visitor scheme, which is
in part driven by the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework. I note that in last year's annual
report, the Principal Community Visitor, Maurice Corcoran, had recommended that a disability
component to the visitor scheme be established, so that is welcomed. Reviews must be undertaken
of the act after the third and before the fourth anniversary of its commencement.

I am grateful to the new minister, the Hon. Katrine Hildyard, for the briefing, and in particular
to Dr David Caudrey, who continues to provide advice to the state government on this, for his
participation in the briefing. I have also sought the advice of our colleague the Hon. Kelly Vincent.
Clearly, as she has a lived experience of disability and lives in this space every day, her advice will
be important to us and we look forward to receiving any amendments that she might have for future
consideration. With those comments, I commend the bill to the house and look forward to the
additional contributions and debate on this legislation.

 

 

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