Bill introduced to Federal Parliament to establish new Commissioner
For those organisations supplying to the NDIS market it may be important to be aware that a Bill has been introduced into Federal Parliament to establish a Commissioner to monitor the quality and safety of services provided, to register entities providing NDIS services to manage complaints and provide leadership ‘in relation to behavioural supports’. The Commission will be known as ‘The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’.
The power to suspend registration for up to 30 days, which in practical terms may well have the effect in the market of deregistration, turns significantly on the Commissioner’s discretion. For example, the Commissioner may suspend an NDIS provider for a specified period if ‘the Commissioner is satisfied that the person is no longer suitable to provide the supports or services to people with disability, having regard to any matters prescribed by the National Disability Insurance Scheme rules’. S.73N(1)(d).
The legislation anticipates the promulgation of the Code of Conduct to be known as the NDIS Code of Conduct and if a person contravenes the code liable for civil penalty of up to 250 penalty units which is $52,500 (one penalty unit being $210).
Questions will no doubt be asked:
- about the interface of these obligations and codes of conduct with those imposed upon charities under the ACNC legislation; and
- about the constitutionality of these powers. Prof Nicholas Aroney and Dr Matthew Turnour of this firm have recently published on this point see: Charities are the New Constitutional Law Frontier.
If your organisation is, or are planning to be, an NDIS supplier it is important to keep abreast of the legislative developments and contribute to the debate to ensure that the best possible legal arrangements are in place as the NDIS rolls out. This firm can help in advising you on the impact of the legislation and also in making submissions to government on how the legislation can be improved.
The legislation can be reviewed here.
This article was written by:
Matthew Turnour, Chairman, Newmann & Turnour Lawyers
Mark Fowler, Director, Newmann & Turnour Lawyers