The NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner will become a reality next month after a landmark Bill was passed by the NSW Parliament.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said it marks an important milestone in the state’s history. “Never before has our state had a body specifically tasked with investigating allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation of adults with disability and older people,” Ward said. “As the first minister for disabilities to have a disability, I’m proud to have helped introduce these important reforms into Parliament.”

He said the Bill goes beyond politics, and will help people feel safe and respected in their home and in the community.

Multiple public inquiries and reviews have highlighted opportunities for government to strengthen safeguards for people with disability and older people.

The independent Commission will be given the power to initiate investigations, compel information from individuals or organisations, as well as apply for and execute search warrants with the assistance of police. It will meet the crucial needs of some of the most vulnerable people in the community with the power to investigate issues not currently being addressed by other complaint and investigative bodies.

The Commissioner will be appointed before starting work on July 1.