New appointment to strengthen Disability Royal Commission

Statement on the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability following the signing of letters patent by his Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia this afternoon.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston today announced the Hon Roslyn Atkinson AO as the seventh Commissioner for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

Minister Ruston said Ms Atkinson’s judicial experience, her standing in the community and extensive experience in engaging people with disability makes her extremely well qualified for this appointment.

“Ms Atkinson served as a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland for over twenty years and was involved in many high profile and civil criminal trials,” Minister Ruston said.

“She was involved in a landmark decision on disability access and discrimination at the very place where the first hearing will be held – the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.”

“Ms Atkinson’s experience adds to an already diverse panel of Commissioners with the knowledge and skills in judicial, policy, lived experience of disability and Indigenous matters who will best represent the interests of all Australians with disability and their families.”

The Morrison Government is providing $119 million funding for free and independent support services for people engaging with, or who are impacted by the Disability Royal Commission.

National Legal Aid and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) will provide a legal advisory service from 16 September 2019.

Individual advocacy support is being boosted to assist people engaging with the Disability Royal Commission. People with disability can find an advocacy service at https://disabilityadvocacyfinder.dss.gov.au/disability/ndap/

Additional counselling services are also being specially contracted to support people engaging with the Disability Royal Commission. These services will be available from October 2019. In the interim, people can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 at any time 24 hours a day.

“We will work closely with the sector to build capability and capacity to deliver trauma-informed services that are fit-for-purpose and will support a diverse range of people who have experienced trauma and people with complex needs,” Minister Ruston said.

More details about the Disability Royal Commission is available from their website at https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/

Information on legal services is available at www.ag.gov.au