NDIS Bill praised by ALA, but with qualification
24th Mar 2013
The Australian Lawyers Alliance remains concerned about oversights in the National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill (passed last week) which stand to limit the rights of those with disabilities and their carers.
“While the NDIS as a whole is a great step forward for people with disabilities, buried in legislative detail are clauses that will potentially limit the choice, accessibility and rights of participants under the scheme,” ALA National President, Tony Kerin, said today.
Mr Kerin said the legislation, as it stands, could force the very people it was designed to protect into legal action in a specified time frame or these people would run the risk of having their benefits removed.
“This clause fails to consider that a participant may not be psychologically or ready to take such action,” Mr Kerin said.
"Lack of clarity about review processes, long-term scheme sustainability and the right to an advocate and funding of that advocacy service are some of the issues that also remain unresolved,” he said.
“It is to be hoped that the Rules, under the Scheme, will substantiate what is to occur in these areas of the law, but at this stage it is unclear.
"In ALA’s view it would have been far better to have these rights enshrined in the actual Bill rather than in Regulations or Rules to come later. Having said that, we have to work with what we have and look forward to commenting on all of the Rules, some of which are yet to be made available for comment,” Mr Kerin said.
He said it went without saying that any such changes must not undermine existing rights and as long as such issues remained outstanding, the government was unable to guarantee that participants under NDIS would be better off than under existing benefits.
“The ALA looks forward to examining what rights and obligations exist under the Rules as the next vital step of evaluating the potential effectiveness of the National Disability Insurance Scheme as laid out in the new legislation,” Mr Kerin said.