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Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Page: 9282

Senator SESELJA (Australian Capital TerritoryAssistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs) (18:51): I will just deal with each amendment one by one. The government doesn't support the amendments on sheet 8307. The government also does not support the amendment establishing the role of a senior practitioner in the act. While there is an intention to establish a senior practitioner to administer the behaviour support function, as set out in the EM, all of the functions of the commission should be the responsibility of the statutorily appointed NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner. This is paramount to the capacity of the commissioner to undertake his or her key functions as an integrated whole.

We believe—respectfully—that the Greens amendments (5) and (6) on sheet 8307, in relation to market oversight function of the commissioner, misunderstand that function. The commissioner's role is to provide additional prudential oversight to large providers with significant coverage in the NDIS market to ensure that these providers are not at risk of failure, leading to adverse outcomes for people with disability. The market oversight function doesn't authorise the commissioner to overlook legitimate complaints by people with disability in order to protect the commercial standing of a provider.

We also won't be supporting amendments (8) and (9) on sheet 8307. The commission will be independent from the agency and from service delivery. The commission will be accountable to parliament through the minister, and any directions from the minister to the commissioner must be of a general nature only and cannot, for example, relate to a decision of the commissioner in respect of a specific individual or NDIS provider. This is to ensure the independence of the commissioner.

The commission's role is to regulate the provision of disability services by providers. There are established avenues for appeal and complaint in relation to the NDIA and its contracted partners through the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the AAT, and for that reason the government won't support the amendments.

The TEMPORARY CHAIR: The question is that amendments (1), (2), (4) and (10) to (13) on sheet 8307 be agreed to.

Question negatived.

The TEMPORARY CHAIR: The question is that section 181H in item 60 of schedule 1 stand as printed.

Question agreed to.

The TEMPORARY CHAIR: The question is that amendments, (3), (5), (6), (8) and (9) on sheet 8307 be agreed to.

Question negatived.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.