New laws better protect National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) SA participants

NEW LAWS: People living with disability in SA will have greater say over restrictive practices. Photo: Shutterstock
NEW LAWS: People living with disability in SA will have greater say over restrictive practices. Photo: Shutterstock

South Aussies living with disability, including in regional areas, will now be given greater powers about how they are safely supported following new laws passed in state government.

The introduction of legislation, adopted earlier this month, seeks to better protect National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants of all ages.

Importantly, it provides extra safeguards to remove the ambiguity currently faced by NDIS providers.

Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink explained how restrictive practices are only used as a last resort in consultation with the person with disability or their guardian.

This can include anything from minor safety changes in the home such as a lock on a cupboard, through to needing to physically restrain someone's movement.

"This new legislation will enable NDIS providers to fulfil their duty of care to staff and ensure participants are not at risk of harm to themselves or others, while reducing reliance on the use of restrictive practices over time."

The authorisation scheme will apply a risk-based process where:

  • Low-level, less intrusive restrictive practices, such as environmental restraint (e.g. locked cupboards), may be authorised by an approved authorised officer within an NDIS provider; and
  • High-level, more intrusive restrictive practices, such as physical restraint, can only be authorised by the Senior Authorising Officer in the South Australian Department of Human Services (DHS) or by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT).

Meanwhile, the 2020-21 state gudget committed $5.8 million over four years to establish the scheme, including creation of a new restrictive practice authorisation unit that will work with and educate NDIS providers.