30/4/19 – QAI has broken down our support on the proposed reforms and you can see our full submission to the Department of Justice and Attorney-General here.
QAI’s Recommendations to the Tasmania Law Reform Institute
- QAI supports and recommends to this inquiry the 2014 position of the Australian Law Reform Commission (‘ALRC’): that the test for fitness should be reformed consistently with the National Decision-Making Principles.
- People with intellectual impairments are capable of making decisions about their own lives. Intellectual impairment on its own, however defined, should not be a basis on which to deny anyone participation in criminal proceedings.
- The tests for fitness to plead and to stand trial should not be de facto tests of a person’s cognitive capacity: that is, they should not be about a person’s intellectual ability to comprehend specific aspects of legal proceedings and trial process.
- The tests should focus on a person’s decision-making ability, with support, and in the context of the particular criminal proceedings which they face. That is, the tests for fitness should take into account the supports mandated by Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Disability Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Qld) (DSLA Bill), a Government Bill to amend, chiefly, the Disability Services Act 2006 (Qld) (DSA), arises from a state-wide legislative review in anticipation of full NDIS roll-out, and commencement of operation of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission in Queensland, by 1 July 2019.
QAI supports the need for the DSLA Bill, to reflect the changing roles and responsibilities of relevant parties with the full rollout of the NDIS. Below, we outline our response to particular proposed reforms.
- Worker screening: QAI agrees with the continuation of the current safeguards for worker screening under the yellow and blue card systems. We support expansion of the exclusion of persons qualified to hold a yellow card as proposed.
- Restrictive Practices: QAI advocates for the development of a nationally consistent framework for Restrictive Practices, rather than state-specific regimes, which must be driven by a focus on eliminating the use of Restrictive Practices.
- Coronial jurisdiction amendments: QAI does not support narrowing the definition in which a death is considered ‘death in care’. In particular, we consider it important that the scope of the coronial jurisdiction continues to cover deaths in aged care facilities, where there is already insufficient investigation.
- Community Visitation Program: QAI does not support the narrowing of the definition of visitable sites for the Community Visitor Program for adults to a place where an NDIS participant lives and receives a particular class of (very high level) supports from a registered NDIS provider.
The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has announced a three-year $527 million royal commission that will examine violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation within the disability sector. Former Federal Court Judge Ronald Sackville AO QC will lead the Royal Commission. The supporting Commissioners will be –
- Barbara Bennett PSM
- Dr Rhonda Galbally AC
- Andrea Mason OAM
- Honourable John Ryan AM, and
- Alistair McEwin
The Commission will be based in Brisbane.
Former Federal Court judge Ronald Sackville AO, QC will lead the commission, supported by five commissioners.
The Terms of Reference say what, why and how the Royal Commission will investigate.
The focus of this inquiry is on the link between mental health and economic participation, productivity and growth. The Productivity Commission Issues Paper (Issues Paper) notes that mental health is a key driver of economic participation and productivity in Australia, with the potential to impact incomes and living standards as well as social engagement and connectedness. The reduced economic costs associated with improved mental health are stated and it is recognised that improvements in mental health can benefit both individuals and the wider community. The significant occurrence of mental health issues experienced by Australians are noted and it is recognised that, notwithstanding ‘a plethora of past reviews and inquiries into mental health in Australia’, and related positive service delivery and service reforms, there are significant problems with mental health in Australia.
QAI agrees with this starting point – our experience is that there are significant, unaddressed mental health problems in Australia. We also agree that addressing these problems requires holistic reform encompassing innovations not only within the healthcare system, but also in the areas of work, education, justice, housing and social services.
4 April 2019
The disability advocacy sector has welcomed the commitment of funding for the Disability Royal Commission in the federal budget. QAI commends Greens Senators Rachel Siewert and Jordan Steele-Johns, and the many, many other disability advocates who convinced the Federal Government to commit to a Disability Royal Commission. We also commend Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenburg for allocating $527 billion towards it, the biggest allocation ever to a royal commission in this country.
It needs to be big because of the scale of abuse and the enormous number of victims in a country where 18.5% of the population has a disability, and more than 1.2 million people have severe or profound activity limitations.
While welcoming news of funding for the Royal Commission, QAI is appalled that the ‘surplus’ behind the Treasurer’s vote-buying tax cuts comes almost entirely from people with disability. That money has been earmarked for the NDIS. It was quarantined, ready and available, we thought, to pay for supports for the hundreds of thousands of Australians who have disabilities – people who have for years gone without basic personal care, without employment, or access to public transport, and without so many other things that the rest of us take for granted.
“Scott Morrison boasts about a surplus, but $1.6 billion of that surplus comes from the short-changing of people with disability through the NDIS underspend. The government is trying to sweeten its image off the backs of people with disability,” said QAI Director Michelle O’Flynn.
Media contact: Michelle O’Flynn 0481 381 528;
Information provided in this release is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. You should obtain your own legal advice before applying any information provided in this release to specific issues or situations.