An ABC investigation by Four Corners into the NDIS has exposed some disturbing instances of people with disability being subject to distressing practices carried out by providers, as well as participants living in appalling circumstances often against their will, that has put the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission under scrutiny.
Disability Rights lawyer and advocate, Natalie Wade said violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability in Australia is a breach of their human rights as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“Australia, as a signatory to the UNCRPD must ensure that people with disability have adequate legal protection to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation,” she told F2L.
“Existing legal protections including criminal laws and powers enjoyed by the regulator, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission must be used to the fullest extent in response to these allegations revealed on Four Corners.
“Action in response must occur and proactive measures must be taken to provide greater legal protection for the human rights of people with disability,” she said.
In a statement to F2L, NDIS Minister Bill Shorten said:
“This program highlights some of the inherent contradictions between some entirely registered providers and others that are not registered at all. Any case studies like these, whether historical or new, are upsetting, deeply concerning and unacceptable. After 10 years of neglect, our mission is to build back trust by putting Australians with disability back into the centre of the scheme. My view is if you are using cruel and illegal restricted practices, you do not belong in the scheme and should not be providing services.
We have turbocharged the Commission, with $142 million of new funding, the single biggest funding boost ever for the Commission, which has seen staff tripled to more than 800 and compliance actions increased 10- fold in just one year. But there is much more to be done and my expectations of the Commission and its leadership are extremely high.
This Thursday, the Royal Commission will hand down its final report and the voices of people with disability will be heard.
Immediately on getting into government I established a NDIS review led by Bruce Bonyhady and Lisa Paul, which will report back within weeks with recommendations on how to bring into the light parts of disability that are in the shadows.
My expectations are that both the Royal Commission and the review will make recommendations to better safeguards NDIS participants, and we look forward to implementing their lessons in conjunction with other governments.”