New legislation has been introduced by the Palaszczuk Government into the Queensland Parliament today to establish a nationally consistent worker screening system for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to improve safeguards for people with disability.
Minister for Disability Services Coralee O’Rourke said the Disability Services and Other Legislation (Worker Screening) Bill had been introduced to replace existing worker screening provisions under the Disability Services Act 2006 (DSA).
“This Bill will strengthen safeguards for people with disability following the rollout of the NDIS,” Mrs O’Rourke said.
“The legislative amendments in this Bill will support the implementation of nationally-consistent worker screening for the first time ever.
“The new system for NDIS worker screening means clearances and exclusions will be recognised across all states and territories.
“The Bill will also enable ongoing monitoring of a screened worker’s criminal history at a national level.
“This means that if someone commits an offence in another state or territory, we will know about it and be able to take action to assess whether the person should be issued with an exclusion.”
Other key changes include:
- an online application process with strengthened identity requirements;
- a strengthened framework to automatically disqualify people convicted of very concerning offences, including sexual offences and serious assault offences committed against children and vulnerable people;
- a stronger decision-making framework that focuses on whether people with relevant history to assess pose an unacceptable risk of harm to people with disability;
- greater powers to suspend a clearance if a card holder has a change in their assessable information;
- the ability to consider a broader range of information as part of the NDIS check to assess if a person poses an unacceptable risk; and
- clearances will remain valid for five years.
The existing state screening system will continue to provide safeguards and apply until the new NDIS worker screening commences, at a time subject to national agreement.
Mrs O’Rourke said the Bill also included provisions to enable Queensland to operate a state disability worker screening system for certain disability services it continues to fund, or deliver, which are not covered by the jurisdiction of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.
“This is about making sure the highest levels of safeguards apply and that we are assessing the history of those seeking to work with people with disability as thoroughly as possible,” she said.
“Ensuring that Queenslanders with disability are protected is our highest priority.”