National screening system to protect NDIS participants

The Liberal National Government today moved to establish a nationally consistent approach to screening people who work with people with disability in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher, said the National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Worker Screening Database) Bill 2018, introduced into the Federal Parliament today, would establish a national database to support a nationally consistent approach to screening people who work with NDIS participants.

The new approach to NDIS Worker Screening is due to start in July 2019 in all States and Territories, except Western Australia. Western Australia intends to join the national scheme from July 2020.

“Worker screening is a way to check that people who are working, or seek to work, in the NDIS do not pose an unacceptable risk of harm to people with disability,” Mr Fletcher said.

“The effect of the Bill will be to establish a nationally consistent worker screening approach following extensive work by the Department of Social Services, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, and State and Territory governments.

“The legislation we have introduced today will help put in place a national NDIS Worker Screening Check.

“The Bill will enable the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to establish and maintain a national database for information about NDIS worker screening.

“This will provide timely and accurate worker clearance status information for providers for NDIS services and supports, and for self-managed participants.”

Mr Fletcher said NDIS worker clearances would be portable across jurisdictions, and apply to providers of NDIS services and supports and self-managed participants – reducing duplication and complexity.

“A worker who has been excluded by one State or Territory will be excluded nationally,” Mr Fletcher said.

“Importantly, nationally consistent worker screening will deter individuals who pose a high risk of harm from seeking work in this sector. 

“The database will support national ongoing monitoring of the criminal history records of workers with clearances to ensure that people who do the wrong thing do not remain in specified roles.

“Participants and their families can have confidence that workers with clearances have been assessed as not posing an unacceptable risk of harm to people with disability.”

The database will cost $13.6 million over four years (2018/19 – 2021/22) to establish and maintain, with funding shared between the Commonwealth and all states and territories.