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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 27 November 2018) . . Page.. 4901 ..


out their duties, particularly in the event that there is a reasonable belief of some risk of harm.

These amendments are largely to maintain the effectiveness of the current Official Visitor regime and have come about due to the changing landscape of disability service provision in the ACT. The opposition supports the bill.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (6.16): Madam Speaker, I also rise in support of the bill. I note the main amendments are a result of the transition to the NDIS, and I support the need for the ACT government and the official visitor to continue to provide oversight of disability service providers in the ACT under the new NDIS landscape.

While of course there are privacy implications for a person with a disability whose private home may become a visitable place under the new provisions, I am satisfied that a person may refuse visits from the official visitor and that any infringement on the right to privacy is balanced by the need to exercise due care and oversight for persons with a disability who are receiving disability services in their home, particularly to protect people with a disability where there may be a sole disability service provider who is responsible for both the person’s accommodation and their support needs.

I also note that the bill removes the requirement for the official visitor to provide 24 hours written notice before visiting a visitable place. Again, I am satisfied with the provision that an official visitor can visit a visitable place at any reasonable time and the further stipulated revisions such as following a complaint or where there is a risk of harm to the person with a disability.

Legislative safeguards such as these are necessary and important to protect people who may be vulnerable. As I have spoken about earlier today, there can be appalling ramifications where this is not carried out with due care and vigilance and when we simply rely on organisations to do the right thing. We already know that people with disabilities experience disproportionate rates of violence and abuse. It is my hope that these amendments will assist to ensure that the voice of people with disability who are accessing services are heard when issues arise. The Greens support the bill.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Disability, Minister for Children, Youth and Families, Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety, Minister for Government Services and Procurement, Minister for Urban Renewal) (6.18), in reply: I thank members for their brief contributions on the Disability Services Amendment Bill. This important bill will support the official visitors for disability services to carry out their vital safeguarding role in monitoring and investigating the welfare of individuals with a disability residing in disability accommodation.

As always, I want to take this opportunity to thank the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety for their consideration of this bill. In relation to the amendment on the definition of visitable places, I thank the committee for drawing the Assembly’s attention to the important balance struck between the management of


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