The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) is reminding people with disability to use their consumer rights when buying goods and services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and to be aware of the range of organisations that can assist when things go wrong.
A new independent Commonwealth body, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) will be available to take complaints from participants in all Australian states and territories from July 1, 2019. Western Australia is an exception and will participate from July 1, 2020.
The ACCC welcomed the establishment of the NDIS Commission as a key agency involved in the protection of people with disability, ACCC deputy chair, Delia Rickard said.
The NDIS Commission will provide a nationally consistent framework and its functions will include:
- Registering NDIS providers and overseeing provider quality and safety
- Responding to complaints and managing reportable incidents such as the abuse or neglect of participants
Since its roll out in 2016, there are now more than 180,000 participants in the NDIS and more than 16,700 registered service providers.
The ACCC is reminding new and existing businesses that they must also comply with their obligations under the Competition and Consumer Act (2010), which includes the Australian Consumer Law.
“The NDIS has led to a range of new entrants in the market. While this is good for competition, we are concerned about the potential for unscrupulous traders to take advantage of vulnerable consumers,” Rickard said. “It is important for people with disability to understand their rights and where to seek assistance when things go wrong. Providers must address complaints promptly and treat consumers fairly and in accordance with the law.”
Australian Consumer Law regulators, in collaboration with the National Disability Insurance Agency, the NDIS Commission, disability support organisations, disability advocates and disability complaint bodies, have developed resources including, fact sheets, industry guidance, videos and an easy English guide.
These resources give consumers and providers useful information and are specifically designed to help consumers direct their complaints or issues to the organisation best placed to assist them, Rickard said.
These resources are available at no cost from www.accc.gov.au/disabilityresources and some hard copies are available. Further information is available on the ACCC website: accc.gov.au/…or/consumers-with-disability
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