Australian Parliament

NDIS News: Parliament passes a bill to protect NDIS participants from harm following the death of Ann Marie Smith. 

On 21 October 2021, the Australian Government passed legislation to better protect National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants from the risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation. 

The legislation implements critical recommendations from the independent review into the adequacy of the regulation of the supports provided to 54-year-old Adelaide woman Ann Marie Smith, who died last year. 

Ms Smith had cerebral palsy and was found in squalid conditions at her home. Her 68-year-old support worker pleaded guilty to Ms Smith’s manslaughter and will be sentenced in December. 

Hon. Alan Robertson SC’s review found no failings in how the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission carried out its regulatory functions. However, it made ten critical recommendations to the Commissioner.  

Action has been taken concerning all recommendations, with six addressed through the legislation that passed Parliament today. 

The bill provides a more streamlined information sharing process between the National Disability Insurance Agency and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. It recognises the need for a balance between the necessity of an efficient information sharing mechanism and the importance of privacy protection. 

The bill also includes greater clarity within the NDIS Act about the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner’s powers, compliance and enforcement provisions and provider registration provisions. 

For further information about the new legislation, visit the NDIS website