House debates

Tuesday, 30 November 2021


National Disability Insurance Scheme Joint Committee; Report

12:09 pm

Photo of Kevin AndrewsKevin Andrews (Menzies, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

On behalf of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme, I present the following reports: the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and General issues2021.

Reports made parliamentary papers in accordance with standing order 39(e).

by leave—The establishment of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to provide centralised oversight of safeguarding for the NDIS was an important step towards improving safeguards and the quality of service provision for people with disability in Australia. This oversight is especially important for NDIS participants who may face increased risks of being subject to abuse, exploitation or neglect.

The committee decided to conduct an inquiry into the commission after issues with the oversight and regulation of disability service providers, including by the commission, emerged in the light of the media attention and subsequent inquiries into the tragic death of Ms Ann-Marie Smith. The inquiry has identified areas in which the commission's approach to its work could be improved. In particular, the committee heard that the commission should be more proactive in its engagement with participants and the sector, and in its compliance and enforcement measures. In addition, gaps persist in safeguarding arrangements for NDIS participants and people with disability more broadly, particularly in the areas where NDIS services interface with services provided by state or territory governments or other areas of the federal system.

This report includes 30 recommendations in relation to these matters and other areas of the commission's work. As noted throughout the report, since the inquiry began in mid-2020, the commission has adopted a range of measures to improve its practice and processes. The committee welcomes these changes and was pleased to note the commission's willingness to listen to people with disability, their advocates and the sector, and to adapt processes in response over the course of the inquiry.

It is nonetheless clear that safeguarding gaps continue to exist for people with disability and that work by the commission and all Australian governments needs to continually identify safeguarding gaps and quickly address them. The review of the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework is crucial in this respect, and, in addition to its specific recommendations, the committee urges the government to carefully consider all the matters raised in this report in that review.

I turn then to the General issues2021 report. The committee's inquiry into general issues related to the implementation and performance of the NDIS provides an ongoing opportunity for the public to present important evidence to the committee related to the NDIS, including its implementation, performance, governance, administration and expenditure. This is the committee's second report in the 46th Parliament for this inquiry. It examines new issues raised in evidence to the general issues inquiry, since the tabling of the first report in December 2020, and provides an update on the committee's recent activities. Chapter 5 of the report also contains the committee's interim report in relation to its inquiry into the current scheme implementation and forecasting for the NDIS and makes one recommendation in relation to that inquiry.

In conclusion, the committee thanks all those who contributed to the committee's inquiries by lodging submissions, providing additional information or expressing their views via correspondence. The committee would also like to thank those who gave their time to attend the committee's public hearings. In particular the committee acknowledges the people with disability, their families and carers who shared their experiences. The testimony of people with lived experience is crucial to identify issues with the NDIS and improve the operation of the scheme.

I thank all the members of the committee, the deputy chair, Senator Brown and the other members, and I thank the secretariat for their wonderful ongoing work in this regard.


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