Media Release by Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC

Improving support for NDIS participants at risk of harm

The Morrison Government considers any abuse, neglect or exploitation suffered by any National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant to be abhorrent and is committed to improving the quality and safeguards in place to protect NDIS participants from harm.

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, today introduced legislation that strengthens the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner’s powers to improve supports for NDIS participants. 

The National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Improving Supports for At Risk Participants) Bill 2021 builds on actions already taken by the Quality and Safeguards Commission in response to the review by the Hon. Alan Robertson SC.

The Robertson review was commissioned by the NDIS Commissioner, to examine the adequacy of the regulation of NDIS services provided to Ms Ann-Marie Smith, an NDIS participant who died tragically and needlessly in April 2020.

“I continue to be deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic death of Ms Smith and cannot state more whole-heartedly the Morrison Government’s commitment to taking action to better protect NDIS participants,” said Minister Reynolds. 

“I’m also grateful to the South Australian Minister for Human Services, Michelle Lensink MLC and more broadly the South Australian Government, for their ongoing support and making the safety of NDIS participants a priority.

“This Bill recognises the horrific circumstances of Ms Smith’s death and I hope that it provides some comfort and assurance to participants, their families and friends.”

The Robertson Review did not identify significant failings in the way the NDIS Commission performed its functions, however, it recognised the harm that has occurred and the importance of taking action, not just against those responsible, but to ensure that it cannot happen again.

This Bill will support the implementation of essential changes in response to a number of the Robertson Review recommendations which required legislative changes. It strengthens the Commissioner’s compliance and enforcement powers, clarifies provider registration provisions and enables effective information sharing.

“Overall, this Bill will improve protections for NDIS participants, including those who are at greater risk of harm, and will strengthen the operational effectiveness of the NDIS Commission,” said Minister Reynolds.