South Australian Government responds to several proposed adverse findings

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability will hold an additional day of Public hearing 14 on Thursday 30th September 2021 commencing at 10.00am (AEST).

During the hearing, Counsel Assisting, Kate Eastman AM SC, will outline proposed findings that could be considered by the Royal Commission in relation to two case studies examined in June 2021. Both cases detailed the recent experiences of people with disability using supported accommodation services provided by the South Australian Department of Human Services.

Several of the proposed findings are adverse to the South Australian Government’s Department of Human Services.

In the second part of Public hearing 14 the Royal Commission examined two major reports which investigated the appalling circumstances surrounding the death of Adelaide woman, Ann Marie Smith. Its review considered how the South Australian and Commonwealth governments, including the National Disability Insurance Agency and the National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguards Commission responded to these past reports and their recommendations.

Senior Counsel Assisting has identified a number of key issues and broad themes from the evidence presented during Public hearing 14, however, it does not seek specific findings or propose recommendations about the functions, powers and policies of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) or the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). The Royal Commission will continue to examine the NDIS Commission and NDIA in further public hearings and other areas of its work.

At the hearing on 30th September, it is anticipated that South Australian Government’s legal representative will accept some of the proposed adverse findings but not all and will argue that certain proposed adverse findings should be revised.

No witnesses will be present at this hearing and no further evidence will be presented.

Counsel Assisting has already made detailed written submissions to the Royal Commission on the evidence presented at the June hearing. Anne Gale, Karen Rogers, the witnesses referred to as ‘Victoria and James’, the South Australian Government, and the Commonwealth have provided their written submissions in response. The written Counsel Assisting submissions and Responses to Counsel Assisting submissions made by parties with leave to appear are available on the Royal Commission’s website.

Chair Ronald Sackville AO QC will preside over the hearing and will be joined by Commissioner Alastair McEwin AM and Commissioner Barbara Bennett PSM.

Senior Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission, Kate Eastman AM SC, will appear along with Ms Elizabeth Bennett.

This additional day of Public hearing 14 will be closed to the public because of COVID-19, but will be live-streamed on the Royal Commission website and include live captioning and Auslan-English interpreters.

Information relating to Public hearing 14 held in May is available on our website.

You can watch the live-stream online on the Disability Royal Commission website.

Please note journalists should register (in advance if possible) with the DRC media team for a Lexel log-in code to be allocated.

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