Disability Services and Inclusion Bill 2023
This consultation has now closed.
Consultation report now online
Public consultation on the Disability Services and Inclusion Bill 2023 (the Bill) has now closed. For more information about the consultation, including who took part and what we heard, please see our consultation report and frequently asked questions (FAQ) document on our Consultation report page.
The Department of Social Services (the department, we, us, our) has prepared the Bill to repeal and replace the Disability Services Act 1986 (the current Act). The Bill was introduced into Parliament on Thursday 14 September 2022. The Bill can be found on the website of the Parliament of Australia.
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.
The department conducted a second round of consultation to explain the exposure draft of the Bill and invite feedback. This consultation included a number of public information seminars to explain the Bill and answer any questions raised. People were invited to complete an online survey, upload a submission, or both.
Feedback from this second round of consultation helped to fine-tune the language used in the Bill and to ensure that the sort of services and supports that people expected to see could be funded through the Bill.
The consultation report combining feedback from both rounds of consultation can be found on the Consultation report page along with a document of FAQs.
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.