House debates

Monday, 27 November 2023


Disability Services and Inclusion Bill 2023; Consideration of Senate Message

11:59 am

Photo of Amanda RishworthAmanda Rishworth (Kingston, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Social Services) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the amendments be agreed to.

The government amendments respond to the recommendations of the Scrutiny of Bills Committee to explicitly include a requirement that an accrediting authority have appropriate internal controls and complaints processes under clause 25(1). It makes clear that this bill must continue certification practices already in place but not articulated in this legislation. The role of accrediting authorities in this bill is to approve certification bodies—that is, they audit the auditors.

Being independent of government, accrediting authorities are impartial arbiters of the audit scheme. They have the power to withdraw accreditation from auditors who do not meet the requirements of the audit scheme. Requiring accrediting authorities to have appropriate internal controls and complaint processes ensures that, at each level of quality and safeguarding arrangements, there is recourse to complain or appeal against an outcome.

The non-government amendment changes the definition of advocacy supports or services provided for under the bill to make explicit that certain legal services are within scope. This is consistent with the intent of the bill and was already indicated in the explanatory memorandum, and so the government does support this amendment.

12:01 pm

Photo of Michael SukkarMichael Sukkar (Deakin, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Social Services) Share this | | Hansard source

We will be supporting these amendments. They were supported by the opposition in the other place. We understand they respond to a recommendation by the Scrutiny of Bills Committee. As the minister has outlined, they will add a legislative requirement for the secretary to be satisfied about internal controls and complaints processes. They will also provide that the secretary can revoke the approval of a person as an accredited authority if the secretary is no longer satisfied that the person meets the requirements under the new paragraph. These seem to be relatively straightforward and commonsense amendments, and we will therefore be supporting them.

Question agreed to.