WA National Disability Insurance Scheme (Worker Screening) Act 2020
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (Worker Screening) Bill 2020 (WA) (the “Bill”) was introduced into the WA Legislative Assembly (“Assembly”) on 12 August 2020, by Mr Whitby, the Parliamentary Secretary. The Bill was assented to 9 December 2020 as Act 48 of 2020, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Worker Screening) Act 2020 (WA).
As a result of the main objective to screen workers in connection with the operation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, certain other Acts require consequential amendments. The Act will consequentially amend the:
- Spent Convictions Act 1988; and
- Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004.
Outline of the Act
As outlined in the Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum (“EM”), the object of the Act is “to provide for the screening of workers in connection with the operation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)”.
The intention of the Act is to “introduce a high standard of screening for persons who engage in NDIS work. Ensuring, as far as is possible, that those working with people with disability are safe to do so requires a range of strategies. Worker screening is an important component of these strategies”.
The Consequential Amendments
The consequential amendments are as follows:
- Spent Convictions Act 1988 – is amended by amending s 28 and Schedule 3; and
- Working with Children (Criminal Record 19 Checking) Act 2004 - is amended by amending s 4 and inserting new sections 37A and 39A to the Act.
The Hon Stephen Dawson (Minister for Environment; Disability Services; Electoral Affairs) said of the Bill:
The Committee Report
In October 2020, thehanded down a Report on the Bill. The Executive Summary noted the Report made 13 findings and three recommendations.
Some of the findings included:
- Clauses 6(1)(a) and 6(2)(a) of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Worker Screening) Bill 2020 erode the Western Australian Parliament’s sovereignty and law-making powers (Finding 3);
- Clause 82(3) of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Worker Screening) Bill 2020 is justified in order to effect a smooth transition to the new regulatory scheme and acceptable by reason of its focused operation (Finding 13).
What is an NDIS Check?
According to the, an NDIS Check is a “national tool that can help NDIS providers determine that individuals seeking to work (or already working) in certain NDIS roles do not present an unacceptable risk of harm to people with disability”. The check is one of the ways to help protect and prevent people with disability from experiencing the possible harm that could arise from them receiving poor quality or unsafe supports or services under the NDIS.
The NDIS Check and clearance will be mandatory if a person is to be engaged in a “risk assessed role” for a registered NDIS provider. A risk assessed role may include:
- key personnel (such as management and operational positions);
- a role for which the normal duties include the direct delivery of specified supports or specified services to a person with disability;
- a role for which the normal duties are likely to require “more than incidental contact” with people with disability.
Comment on the Bill
In his speech, Minister Dawson commented:
In a Media Statement, the Minister said further:
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National Disability Insurance Scheme (Worker Screening) Act 2020 (WA), Bill and supporting information available from TimeBase's LawOne Service