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Media Release - Review of the Disability Services Act 1993 (DSA) and the Community Services (Complaints, Appeals and Monitoring) Act 1993 (CAMA)

Only services accredited by a new independent quality assurance body will receive funding under the Disability Services Act 1993 (NSW) if recommendations contained in a Law Reform Commission report, released today, are implemented.

The Commission has recommended the establishment of the Disability Services Quality Assurance Council (DisQAC), the new independent quality assurance body, as part of its comprehensive review of the Disability Services Act 1993 (DSA) and the Community Services (Complaints, Appeals And Monitoring) Act 1993 (CAMA). These Acts, when introduced in 1993, reflected a new approach in service provision to people with disabilities and provided a significant impetus to moving people out of large institutions and into the community.

Commenting on the reports, the Commissioner in charge of the project, Professor Neil Rees, said:

'The DSA and CAMA are, together, the most comprehensive package of disability services legislation in all of Australia. The Commission's extensive consultations revealed widespread support amongst people with a disability, their carers and service providers for legislative recognition of the rights of people with disabilities as contained in the DSA.

The achievement of those rights will take time. Although the legislation has had a positive impact on the quality of life of many people with disabilities using government-funded services, there are a great many people still living in large residential institutions in very poor conditions. New measures designed to assist services move towards full compliance with the DSA and to monitor progress towards the achievement of the DSA's objectives have been proposed by the Commission.

The complaints, review and monitoring role played by the Community Services Commission has been endorsed by the Commission following broad support from all sectors of the community. While the Commission has made some recommendations designed to clarify the functions and powers of the Commissioner for Community Services, it has strongly supported the continued existence of a separate, independent and well-resourced agency to ensure people receive community services of the highest standard.'

The Commission has also today released Research Report 9 which collates the findings of a series of focus groups and interviews with people with disabilities and young people in substitute care options.

Media Contact:

Mr Peter Hennessy (Executive Director) or Frances Di Benedetto (Senior Legal Officer) on (02) 9228 8230.