Bill: Disability Services [Inclusion and Monitoring] Amendment Bill


Second Reading 

Adjourned debate on second reading. 

(Continued from 10 March 2016.) 

Mr GARDNER ( Morialta ) ( 10:50 ): I am pleased to speak on the Disability Services (Inclusion and Monitoring) Amendment Bill. Members would be aware that some of the issues raised in this bill are those that I have been following with some interest for some time and occasionally make contributions to the house on. I would particularly like to commend the member for Morphett, who has brought this groundbreaking legislation to the parliament for its consideration. 

I am not yet certain whether the government has identified whether or not they are going to support this bill, but I think it behoves them to give it very serious consideration. When we have an opportunity to vote on this bill today, I hope they will support it. The member for Morphett, as the shadow minister for disabilities, has identified the significant challenges and disadvantages facing people with a disability who are seeking employment in the Public Service in South Australia, to maintain employment and to fully participate in the opportunities that that employment should provide. 

This is a sincere concern for us in 2016. It is a sincere concern at all times, of course, but here in 2016 we have introduced a National Disability Insurance Scheme which is rolling out across Australia. We have moved about five years past Monsignor Cappo's Strong Voices report being handed down to the people of South Australia, and we should be doing better than this. There should be no need to have legislation such as this. 

We should automatically, as a function of our humanity, be looking for ways to include people with a disability in our workplaces and in our practices, yet so many examples exist of where people with a disability have struggled to find the inclusion that they deserve. Unfortunately, that extends into the South Australian Public Service and the departments that will be impacted by this bill. 

When I was doing some work in the disability sphere as shadow minister, one of the things I noticed was that in the government's regular plans, where they set targets for what they hope to achieve from time to time, the South Australian plan that the government had identified employment of people with a disability in the South Australian Public Service. There was an expectation that significant improvements would be made, yet every year when I checked the annual reports of the departments as to how many people with a disability were employed in those government departments there were not steps forward, there were in fact steps back. Fewer people with a disability were being employed in many of these departments. 

I do not have individual cases to hand, but anyone who looks through the annual reports—I did an audit one year of those annual reports, comparing I think the 2005 figures against the 2011 figures, and I have recently checked some of the others—can see that it is not just that they have not met the targets to double the number of people with a disability working in these departments, in some departments they have not even maintained the number of people with a disability working in those departments, and that is a sincere concern and very troubling. This suggests that, when efficiency dividends may be sought in some areas, people with a disability may well be the ones who are finding themselves targeted, and that is a real problem. 

I commend the member for Morphett who, in noting these problems and so many others, has introduced this legislation, which he did in March. This is a whole-of-government objective, which will assist in the transition towards the NDIS. It will provide disability inclusion plans and disability inclusion action plans across state government departments. The legislation includes provisions that expand the functions and the powers of the Ombudsman and, in doing so, aims to have government and other providers commit to providing safeguards in relation to delivery of support to protect people with disabilities, so they can live their lives free from abuse, neglect and exploitation. 

Similar measures have been introduced in New South Wales and, indeed, were introduced last year as part of that state's transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. They enhanced the protections of the rights of people with disability enshrined in state legislation there, so I think we should do the same here in South Australia. 

The amendments will introduce a process for the reporting of certain allegations or convictions and allow monitoring of the progress of an investigation of a reportable allegation or conviction, if the Ombudsman considers it in the public interest. The Ombudsman will have the power to conduct interviews by, or on behalf of, the department for the purpose of the investigation. The bill also provides for the results and action of an investigation of a reportable allegation or conviction to be reported to the Ombudsman. 

A state disability inclusion plan will be required to be developed through consultation with the disability sector and then reviewed every four years by the minister, after which the report on the outcome of the review must be tabled in parliament and be made publicly available on the internet. Disability action plans will be required by public authorities so that people with disabilities can access general supports and services available in the community and, therefore, participate fully. 

This broad range of measures, I believe—and the opposition, I think, believes—will enhance the lives of people with disability in South Australia and provide protections where protections are needed, opportunities where opportunities can be provided and inclusion, particularly in public departments where inclusion should be the expectation, not the requirement. 

The Hon. T.R. KENYON ( Newland ) ( 10:56 ): I move: 

That the debate be adjourned. 

The house divided on the motion: 

Ayes 22 

Noes 16 

Majority 6 

AYES 

Bedford, F.E. 

Bettison, Z.L. 

Brock, G.G. 

Caica, P. 

Close, S.E. 

Cook, N.F. 

Digance, A.F.C. 

Hamilton-Smith, M.L.J. 

Hildyard, K. 

Hughes, E.J. 

Kenyon, T.R. (teller) 

Key, S.W. 

Koutsantonis, A. 

Mullighan, S.C. 

Odenwalder, L.K. 

Piccolo, A. 

Picton, C.J. 

Rankine, J.M. 

Rau, J.R. 

Vlahos, L.A. 

Weatherill, J.W. 

Wortley, D. 

 

 

     

 

NOES 

Duluk, S. 

Gardner, J.A.W. 

Goldsworthy, R.M. 

Griffiths, S.P. 

Marshall, S.S. 

McFetridge, D. 

Pederick, A.S. 

Pengilly, M.R. 

Pisoni, D.G. 

Redmond, I.M. 

Sanderson, R. 

Tarzia, V.A. 

Treloar, P.A. (teller) 

van Holst Pellekaan, D.C. 

Whetstone, T.J. 

Wingard, C. 

 

 

     

 

PAIRS 

Bignell, L.W.K. 

Bell, T.S. 

Gee, J.P. 

Speirs, D. 

Snelling, J.J. 

Knoll, S.K. 

     

 

Motion thus carried; debate adjourned.