Draft NDIS legislation should be properly scrutinised

16th Oct 2012

Draft NDIS legislation should be distributed to Australian disability groups, academics and lawyers, well before any parliamentary tabling, the ALA said today.

The ALA was responding to yesterday’s announcement that National Disability Insurance Scheme legislation would be put before parliament before the end of the year.

“It is imperative that a scheme – so far-reaching and life-changing – be publicly aired well before arriving in parliament for approval,” ALA National President, Tony Kerin, said.

“The NDIS, if done right, will revolutionise quality of life for those physically disadvantaged but, if done wrong, could be disastrous.

"It is such a huge scheme that intersects with so many areas of people’s lives as well as other existing legislation and, as such, its reach, effectiveness and viability need to be properly scrutinised,” Mr Kerin said.

He said there was no doubt that people with a disability, and their carers, have been waiting too long for measures to improve their lives; but only with proper public scrutiny of the NDIS could ensure positive progress happens.

“Those most affected by this legislation must be consulted and included,” Mr Kerin said.

A parliamentary or senate committee should also be set up to further scrutinise draft legislation and public consultation conducted outside the Christmas holiday period.

Mr Kerin said the public was becoming increasingly tired of politicians pushing legislation through parliament without adequate examination. The extension of the Northern Territory Intervention, euphemistically termed, Stronger Futures was an example of this.

“It was introduced without prior warning into the House of Representatives before a Senate Committee report was released on the issue, by the same government department that is tabling this NDIS legislation.

“A tabling of the NDIS on or around the last parliamentary sitting week before Christmas, without proper opportunity to respond and then being passed into law in the first weeks of the 2013 parliament is unacceptable and insulting to those whom it will affect,” Mr Kerin said.

“December has already been slated for APY Lands NDIS discussions, despite the added difficulties of translation into different Indigenous languages to some of Australia’s most marginalised and health poor, at a time when family members, who may be able to assist in interpreting, are more likely to be away for Christmas.”

Tags: Disability NDIS