QAI welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback on the Commonwealth government’s plan to replace the Disability Services Act 1986 (the Act). QAI agrees that a lot has changed in the disability sector over the last three decades, rendering the Act outdated.
QAI considers that a replacement Act needs to, among other things:
- Ensure that people with disability are at the centre of, and meaningfully involved in, decision-making regarding their own lives.
- Embed supported decision-making into the legislation, requiring disability services governed by the Act to respect and uphold the legal capacity of people with disability.
- Include an aspirational purpose and vision. For example, replicate the purpose in Article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
- Contain a list of general principles that will inform the exercise of legislative power under the new Act. Specifically, replicate the general principles listed in Article 3 of the CRPD.
- Strengthen the proposed Objects of the Act in keeping with the CRPD and other related legislation, such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (Cth).
- Where possible, achieve consistency within the disability policy and legislative landscape regarding definitions.
- Limit definitions within the Act to the services governed by the Act, rather than seeking to identify (and therefore potentially limit) a target group of people for those different services.
- Provide a prescriptive and person-centred approach to the issue of service duplication. Legislate that a person will not be denied access to services or supports while their eligibility for other services is explored or tested. Where duplication exists, the onus should be on the service of the person’s choice to continue providing supports until the person decides or is able to obtain services elsewhere.
- Contain updated quality and safeguarding arrangements that incorporate learnings from the Disability Royal Commission.
- Consider introducing a minimum set of standards for all disability services, such as a need for basic CPR training and a requirement to facilitate supported decision-making.
- When considering regulatory alignment, adopt the framework that imposes the highest possible quality of service delivery.
- Require regulatory bodies to employ persons with disability to ensure the knowledge and lived experience of people with disability is at the heart of service regulation and monitoring.
- Consider a regulatory framework for the use of Restrictive Practices on all people with disability, by all agencies that seek to apply them, in all settings in which they occur.
- Improve the definition of “advocacy” by defining the role of advocacy and including other advocacy types, such as individual, legal, systemic, and family advocacy.
You can read our full submission, here: