Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 6 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1886..
the ACT at the end of this month. The bill seeks to make changes in two main areas. The first is a change to the notification requirement that the official visitor must provide should they wish to inspect a service provider. Currently the official visitor is required to notify the director-general 24 hours prior to visiting a premise. The amendments will now require the official visitor to instead provide the notification directly to the service provider 24 hours in advance. Essentially these changes place no new restrictions on the ability of the official visitor to conduct their duties but ultimately these changes will allow the official visitor to inspect a wider range of services as the funding relationship with the territory is no longer required.
The second and slightly more complex aspect of this bill is the creation of specialist disability service providers. A specialist disability service is defined in the amendment as:
(1) a service provided specifically for people with a disability; and
(2) is of a type declared by the minister.
Examples that have been used in the act that the minister may choose to declare include services such as accommodation services, advocacy services, case management, personal care services and respite care. The reason for the creation of this definition is to ensure that the standards that currently apply to disability service providers continue to apply under the NDIS. Currently they apply to service providers by nature of their funding relationship with the territory. Under the NDIS, the territory will no longer be directly funding these services. Therefore a change to this aspect of the act was required.
An example of the practical application of this definition in practice would be an aged care facility that provides care to an individual who is a participant in the NDIS. Such a facility would, for the purposes of this act, be considered a specialist service provider. Likewise, a gym or a personal training centre that provided a program specifically for people with a disability would be required to adhere to these standards. However, should a gym choose to provide a mainstream service or a service that is open to the general public and an individual that was accessing the NDIS chose to use some of their funding to access it, that service would not be considered a specialist service under the premise of this act.
It is also important to note that there are a couple of exemptions to the definition of a specialist service provider. Family or extended family that provide care for a family member are exempt from needing to conform to the service standards. I believe that this is an appropriate exemption as it will allow for family to continue to meet the needs of a relative to the best of their ability without unnecessary interference from the state.
The other exemption applies to the territory itself. For the purposes of this act, the territory will not be bound to the standards as approved by the minister. This exemption is of some concern to the opposition. The application of a standard, in essence, is establishing a minimum acceptable level of service, a minimum standard that must be met by all service providers. Given that the NDIS ultimately results in all
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