Disability Services and Inclusion Bill 2023
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The Department of Social Services (the department, we, us, our) is preparing the Disability Services and Inclusion Bill 2023 (the Bill) for introduction into Parliament. The Bill is drafted to repeal and replace the Disability Services Act 1986 (the current Act).
You may have participated in the first consultation which took place from 7 November 2022 to 12 February 2023. This was to seek your input to help inform drafting the Bill. If you would like to see further information about the first consultation this can be found on the DSS Engage website.
We are now doing a second consultation to explain the Bill. We want to learn what people think about the Bill and how it will affect people with disability, their families and carers as well as service providers. After we hear feedback, we may make further changes to the Bill before it is considered by Parliament.
Why a new Act is required
The current Act was established in 1986. It gives the Commonwealth the power to fund a range of disability services and programs. It also regulates the certification of service providers and sets out the standards that they must meet.
Disability supports and services have changed since the current Act began more than three decades ago. In 2008, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted, followed by the Optional Protocol to the CRPD in 2009. Further, Australia is moving toward a unified and national approach to building inclusion for people with disability. This started with the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and the establishment of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 2013. This work is continuing with Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031.
With these changes in mind, the Bill establishes a complementary enabling legislative framework for Commonwealth spending on disability related supports and services outside of the NDIS.
What the Bill does
The Bill provides a way to continue funding existing supports and services, while giving authority for the Commonwealth to design new supports and services in the future to better support people with disability, their families and carers.
Unlike the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act), the Bill does not provide supports or services directly to people with disability. This Bill will not change or affect the NDIS or disability support pension paid under social security law. Rather, the Bill establishes a contemporary, modern and streamlined framework to facilitate funding for supports and services that will assist all people with disability regardless of whether or not they are a participant in the NDIS.
To protect people with disability and their families and carers, the Bill seeks to improve the quality of service providers and safety for people with disability. The Bill also protects personal privacy.
The exposure draft of the Bill as well as further material detailing key parts of the Bill are available with the consultation material.
Who can have their say
Feedback and comments are welcome from anyone. First and foremost, this includes people with disability, but also includes family members, carers, advocates, service providers, peak bodies and organisations. You can share your own views, or provide feedback on behalf of someone else.
We developed a survey with questions about certain elements of the Bill. Survey questions were available on the DSS Engage website.
We held public information sessions starting during the weeks commencing 17 July 2023 and 31 July 2023. More information on registering for these seminars is available on our public seminars page. If there are any questions you would like us to address at these sessions please submit them via our enquiries page.