The Ageing and Disability Commissioner Bill 2019 (the “Bill”) was introduced to the NSW Parliament’s Legislative Assembly on 8 May 2019, by Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, the Hon Gareth Ward. The object of the legislation is to establish a new position of Ageing and Disability Commissioner. The Bill is currently before the Legislative Assembly and is proposed to amend the following NSW Acts:
As noted in the Bill’s Explanatory Note (“EN”), the intention of the legislation will be to:
The Bill also establishes an Ageing and Disability Advisory Board (the “Board”) and also according to the EN, provides “that the Official Community Visitor program, to the extent that it relates to visits to accommodation provided to adults with disability and certain boarding houses, is to be administered by the Commissioner instead of the Ombudsman as is currently the case”.
Commenting to the(“SMH”) NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (the “Premier”) said the reform would complement any findings that arise out of the . She said:
The Premier also said in a“the reform will create the State’s first powerful and independent Ageing and Disability Commissioner.”
It is envisaged the Commissioner will be given the power to initiate investigations into allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation, compel information from individual or organisations, as well as apply for and execute a search warrant to conduct an investigation.
Speaking to the, the Premier said:
Professor Eileen Baldry, Deputy Chair of the Disability Council of NSW, said theis a critical step in the right direction:
Chairwoman of the, Kathryn Greiner (who is on the panel which will select the new Commissioner), said there was a need for a position to “cut through” the plethora of other services that already existed. Ms Greiner said:
Speaking on the Bill, the Minister explained in his Second Reading Speech:
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