Creating a voice for the Disability Sector
Creating a voice for the Disability Sector
Disability Safety Legislation Bill to prevent another NDIS life being lost

Disability Safety Legislation Bill to prevent another NDIS life being lost

02 September 2021

The horrific death of NDIS participant Ann Marie Smith in Adelaide last year, which shocked the disability sector and the nation, has lead to a disability safety legislation bill being passed by the House of Representatives.

The terrible circumstances of the last 12 months of Anne Marie Smith’s life resulted in a number of investigations and inquiries including:

  • An investigation by the South Australian Police (charges have been laid)
  • A Coroner’s examination
  • A SafeWork SA investigation
  • An inquiry by a South Australian Taskforce
  • An independent inquiry by Alan Robertson (a former Federal Court judge) on behalf of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. Reports of the inquiries undertaken by Robertson and the SA Taskforce both identify gaps in NDIS safeguarding arrangements.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Improving Supports for At Risk Participants) Bill 2021 aims to close some of these gaps and responds directly to many of the recommendations made in the Robertson report and will be presented to the Senate.

The provision of high quality and safe supports is core to the work of National Disability Services (NDS) members. For this reason, NDS supports amendments to the NDIS Act that will help prevent the abuse and neglect endured by Ann Marie Smith from happening again.

To help Parliament improve the safeguarding of participants, the NDS made several observations and recommendations.

In almost every submission NDS had made on NDIS Commission matters, the organisation argued that not requiring unregistered providers or persons to obtain NDIS worker clearance placed NDIS participants using these supports at greater risk.

An NDIS worker clearance check should be a minimum requirement for all disability supports purchased with NDIS funds.

NDS supports the need for strengthening some elements of the NDIS Act to give greater protections for NDIS participants, particularly the ability to consider past behaviours.

The NDS does, however, ask that greater clarity be provided on what some of these mean in practice.

Read the whole NDS submission here.


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