Key Recommendations for the New Disability Services Act (‘The Act’)
The Act should include a preface that places strong emphasis on the shared responsibility across agencies and the community to uphold the rights of people with a disability.
The Act should require government departments and statutory bodies to align with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and uphold the rights of people with disability, for example, in developing disability inclusion action plans with measureable goals, KPIs and outcomes.
Rather than state only high-level principles, the Act should set out guidelines and procedures that activate established principles.
The Act must identify clearly the role and relationship between the state government particularly the Department of Communities and Disability Services and the National Disability Insurance Agency (‘NDIA’).
The Act should promote a strong person-centred approach, such as that found in the Victorian Disability Services Act 2006; set out the responsibilities of departments and agencies to provide person-centred services; and, embed the rights of people with disability to have access to services and to be involved in service planning.
The Act should set out best practice consultation and/or, co-design with people with disability.
The Act should outline a mechanism to ensure accessible procurement by government agencies.
The Act must stipulate ongoing data collection and analysis by all agencies with responsibilities under the Act.
The Act should require that it first should be reviewed after three years, then every five years thereafter. Reports of these reviews should be tabled in State Parliament.
The Act should appoint a Disability Commissioner, with key powers and responsibilities set out below at #10.
The Disability Commissioner will adopt the disability-relevant functions and powers of the Public Advocate as set out in the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 (Qld), but with broader scope to promote and defend the rights of people with disability, particularly those who do not have NDIS Plans.
The Act should include provision for people with cognitive impairment, providing recognition of their specific rights and needs, as does section 6 of Victoria’s Disability Act 2006.
The Act should mandate ‘no card no start’, except where people with disability are selfmanaging their supports and services. In that instance, sole traders and unregistered providers should be able to work while awaiting screening, but only if safeguards are implemented, including risk management plans and supervision by a screened NDIS worker.
The roles and responsibilities of the Disability Advisory Councils should be reviewed and invigorated. The Act should outline the function, terms of recruitment, membership and the terms of review of the Councils OR
The Disability Advisory Councils should be convened by and linked to an agency with expanded authority, such as the Disability Commissioner, as outlined below.