National Disability Insurance Scheme Transition Amendment Act 2019
To further support transition to the NDIS in Victoria, the National Disability Insurance Scheme Transition Amendment Act 2019 makes important changes to the Disability Act 2006 and the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. This is to ensure that safeguards for people with a disability transitioning to the NDIS are strengthened and maintained, and to ensure the rights of people living in Specialist Disability Accommodation are protected. This Act can be viewed on the Legislation Victoria website.
Disability Act 2006
The Disability Act 2006 introduced major reforms aimed at improving services for people with a disability in Victoria. It replaced the Intellectually Disabled Persons’ Services Act 1986 and Disability Services Act 1991. The Disability Act 2006 commenced on 1 July 2007 and provides for:
- a stronger whole-of-government, whole-of-community response to the rights and needs of people with a disability, and
- a framework for the provision of high quality services and supports for people with a disability.
The Disability Act 2006 established the position of the Disability Services Commissioner (the Commissioner or DSC) who provides a free and accessible process to assist with resolving complaints. The Commissioner is independent of government, the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing and disability service providers, and reports through the Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers to Parliament each year.
The Commissioner’s annual report publishes information about the number and type of complaints and the outcome of the complaints dealt with in a financial year. The Commissioner may name in an annual report a disability service provider who has unreasonably failed to take action to remedy a complaint. Before naming a disability service provider in an annual report, the Commissioner will give that provider at least 14 days notice in writing that the Commissioner intends to name that provider and give the provider an opportunity, within a specified period, to object to being named in the report (s. 19 of the Disability Act 2006).
What sections of the Disability Act 2006 are relevant to the Commissioner?
- Part 3 Division 3 (sections 14 to 19) sets out administrative arrangements in relation to the Commissioner.
- Part 6 is concerned with rights and accountability in disability services broadly.
- Part 6 Division 5 (sections 104 to 106) sets out requirements for complaints to disability service providers.
- Part 6 Division 6 (sections 107 to 128) provides for an independent and accessible process for dealing with complaints to the Commissioner.
- Part 6 Division 6A, 6B and 6C (sections 128A – 128U) sets out the process by which the Commissioner conducts investigations.
- Part 6 Division 8 (s 132A – 132ZH) outlines the powers given to the Commissioner in conducting investigations.
To learn more about the functions and the powers granted to the Commissioner through the Disability Act 2006, click here. To read the Disability Act 2006 in full, you can visit the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website.
Ministerial Referral 2021-22
On 25 June 2021 the Honourable Luke Donnellan, Minister for Child Protection and Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers (The Minister) issued an extension of the 2020 referral that requested that DSC inquire into and, at the Commissioner’s discretion, investigate any matter relating to the provision of services (including abuse or neglect in the provision of services) by disability service providers within our jurisdiction until 30 June 2021. The Minister made the referral under section 128I(2) Disability Act 2006 (Act).
The referral (available below), replaces previous referrals except with respect to matters outstanding under those referrals. This referral is to take effect from 1 July 2021 until 30 June 2022.
In accordance with sub-sections 16(c) and 128I(2) of the Act, the referral authorises the Disability Services Commissioner to inquire into and investigate any matter relating to the provision of services (including abuse or neglect in the provision of services) by service providers identified in the following:
- Incident reports the DSC receives from the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (previously the Department of Health and Human Services), including all deaths (where the deceased was a person with a disability receiving services at the time of their death), and category one and major impact incidents (as defined by the department) relating to assault, injury and poor quality of care.
- Deaths referred to the DSC by the State Coroner where the deceased was a person with a disability receiving services at the time of the person’s death.
- Matters of abuse and neglect referred by the Community Visitors Board.
The purpose of these inquiries and investigations is to improve the services that are investigated, or to understand issues in the services being investigated in order to develop service improvements in response to those issues.
When conducting an investigation under this referral, in accordance with section 128I(4) of the Act, DSC will consider any action that the service provider should take to improve the services provided by the service provider.
In accordance with sub-sections 19(1)(c) and 19(1)(d) of the Act, the Minister has requested that DSC includes the following in our annual report:
- a comprehensive annual review of deaths that occur in services; and
- the number, type and outcomes of investigations conducted under this referral, and
- any related follow up investigations, as well as an overview of any practice or systemic issues identified.
View the Ministerial Referral here
Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014
DSC is an organisation bound by the provisions of the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014. DSC complies with this Act in its collection and handling of personal information. To read the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 in full, you can visit the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website. You may also be interested in our Privacy Statement.
Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006
The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 sets out individuals’ civil and political rights and freedoms, and the responsibilities that go with them. DSC complies with the legislative requirements outlined in the charter, and gives consideration to human rights when dealing with enquiries and complaints. To read the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 in full, you can visit the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website.