Ageing, Disability & Home Care

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DIA for people with disability

Disability Inclusion Act 2014 - what it means for people with disability, their families and carers

The Disability Inclusion Act 2014 (the Act) owes much to the valuable input of people with disability, their families and carers.

The Act, which replaces the Disability Services Act 1993, has two main roles:
  1. Committing the NSW Government to making communities more inclusive and accessible for people with disability now and into the future. These commitments will continue even when the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is operating across NSW. 
  2. Regulating specialist disability supports and services to people with disability in NSW and introducing better safeguards for these services until the change over to the NDIS. 

Choice and control

The Act makes it clear that the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) can provide funding in a number of different ways to give people with disability control over the supports and services they need. This will help prepare people with disability to make choices and decisions under the NDIS.

The Act allows us to offer individualised funding directly to people so they can have real choice and control over their supports. A range of options will be available to assist people to manage their funds if they choose.

Support will be available to help people with disability learn how to make the decisions that are right for them and to take greater control of their lives.

Quality supports so you can live life your way

The Act reinforces that all FACS disability services and those disability services provided by other organisations funded by FACS must comply with the NSW Disability Service Standards. FACS does this to make sure that the services you receive are consistent and of a good quality to support you to live the life you want.

This means when providing services, providers must make sure that every effort is made for you to receive all the support and information you require in a way that meets your personal goals and needs.

Safeguards

Everyone has the right to live free from abuse, neglect and harm. The Act includes new safeguards to help this to happen for people with disability using supports and services. These safeguards will begin from 3 December 2014 and will be in place until the NDIS is across NSW in full, in 2018.

For example, tighter criminal record checks for disability service staff employed by FACS or organisations funded by FACS to delivery disability services, will help prevent unsuitable staff being employed to work directly with people with disability. Checks of all new staff begin from 3 December 2014. All current employees must be checked by 1 December 2015.

Another safeguard, also to start immediately, is the reporting of serious incidents of abuse and neglect of people with disability living in supported group accommodation provided by FACS or organisations funded by FACS. This includes centre-based respite services. The reports must go to the NSW Ombudsman.

Inclusion

The Act commits the NSW Government to promoting inclusion of people with disability, which will enrich community life for everyone. The government’s commitment will continue even after NSW has moved fully to the NDIS.

To ensure that inclusion becomes a reality, a whole-of-government plan will set direction from the top. The four-year State Disability Inclusion Plan will aim to improve access to mainstream services and to ensure that people with disability are included in the community.

Consistent with this plan, NSW Government departments, local councils, and some other public authorities will develop Disability Inclusion Action Plans to provide better access to their services to people with disability. The development and review of these plans must involve people with disability so that action is practical and makes a real difference.

Government departments and other public authorities must ensure that their Disability Inclusion Action Plans are in place by 1 December 2015 and local councils’ plans need to be in place by 1 July 2017.

We urge everyone interested in building more inclusive communities to become involved in the development of the NSW Disability Inclusion Plan and Disability Inclusion Action Plans.

We don’t need facilities and groups exclusively for people with disability. We just want access to the same swimming pools, libraries and clubs as everyone else. Just getting to the local pool or shops can be difficult. Very poor footpaths, curbs and gutters, and crossings that are never upgraded can severely impede access to the community. Jo Berry, Person with disability
Having a job is fundamental to becoming part of the mainstream. People with disability should be able to work and enjoy the sense of achievement and social interaction it brings and this should be a fundamental expectation for us all. Chris Sparks, Person with disability

Your Rights

The law officially recognises that people with disability have the same human rights as others. This is an important achievement that brings NSW into harmony with the United Nations’ view that disability arises because of barriers that society puts up to equal participation by all. This Act will help to dismantle existing barriers so that people with disability can participate fully in their communities.

These rights are included in the Act as ‘principles’. The principles of the Act include the right to respect and dignity, the right to make decisions that affect your life and the right to enjoy a full social and economic life as part of the community. In addition there are also principles recognising the needs of particular groups. These are people with disability who are also Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, women or children.

The Act says that anyone providing disability supports and services to you or providing funding to you for supports and services or creating Disability Inclusion Action Plans should consider these principles when they are making decisions and delivering supports and services.

Decisions can be internally reviewed and the Act provides that some decisions relating to funding can be reviewed by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). Refer to DIA fact sheet 3 - supports, services and funding (December 2014) for further information on reviewing decisions.

I’ve found it difficult to get even a part-time job. People with disability are often in the too hard basket for mainstream employers. There’s a lot more that could be done to make employment more inclusive. – Paul Stone, Person with disability

More information

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For a printable version of this information and to access it in other formats, please see below.

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