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Submission: Proposed Revisions to the Disability Services Act (1986)

15 February 2023

The Department of Social Services (DSS) called for submissions regarding a New Act to Replace the Disability Services Act (1986). The National Mental Health Consumer & Carer Forum (NMHCCF) submitted a response to the call for submissions by the 12th of February 2023.

Reason for submission

The DSS is working to update and replace the Disability Services Act (1986), which has been in place for more than thirty years and aims to improve the lives of, and supporting, people with disability, their families, carers, and kin. Updating the Disability Services Act (1986) aims to incorporate contemporary understandings of disability, and more closely align the legislation with such documents as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and Australia's Disability Strategy 2021-2031. The NMHCCF appreciates the opportunity to provide a submission to this consultation process and it welcomes most of the proposed changes to, and aims of, the Disability Services Act (1986).

The NMHCCF believes it important to provide responses to these proposed amendments from people with lived experience of psychosocial disability and their carers, family, and kin, as too often policy and legislation enacted within the disability space tend to overlook the issue of psychosocial disability. Being the peak voice for mental health consumers and carers in Australia, the Disability Representative Organisation for psychosocial disability in Australia, and with all members representing lived experience of mental health challenges and service engagement throughout the country, the NMHCCF speaks as an authority on psychosocial disability across the Australian landscape.

This submission responds to each of the 8 consultation questions in the Consultation Paper that will represent amendments to 6 sections of the Disability Services Act (1986). For each of the 6 sections in line for amendment, this submission outlines in some detail the proposed changes by the DSS and then the NMHCCF’s response to each question underneath. The 6 sections of the Disability Services Act (1986) that the DSS is proposing to change are: 1) Objects of the Act; 2) Who will the New Act support?; 3) Definition of disability; 4) Quality and safeguarding arrangements; 5) Types of services funded under the New Act; and 6) Disability Employment and Rehabilitation Services.

Read the full submission & recommendations:

Submission: Proposed Revisions to the Disability Services Act (1986)