Member Update: Latest update on the Royal Commissions

Royal Commission into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability (Disability Royal Commission)

After many years of lobbying, it is a historic period now that the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (referred to as the Disability Royal Commission) is happening and that unheard voices will have the opportunity to be heard.  The commission has now started, with a focus on education, with the first hearing commencing in Townsville this week.  You can click here for the live broadcast.  Please be aware that this broadcast contains people’s individual stories and experiences and material and the broadcast may be confronting for some people. There is information below about Counselling Services available for the Disability Royal Commission.

As many of you would be aware there have been some calls for the roll out of the Disability Royal Commission to slow down until adequate support services are in place. There has also been calls for two of the Commissioners to stand down due to conflicts of interest relating to their previous roles in managing services for people with disability, and the Commission have spoken to this issue at the opening of the Commission and advised that they have put measures in place to manage conflicts of interest.

QDN fully supports the Royal Commission and sees it as an opportunity for people with disability to have a voice and speak out against violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect and we will continue to raise this issue alongside our allies.

QDN believes that it is crucial for people to receive the support they need to participate in the Royal Commission, to prepare and give evidence, and have access to any counselling services they need post participating in the Royal Commission. We have already and will continue to provide links and contact information of services that can assist you during the Royal Commission.

QDN encourages people with disability to make submissions, give evidence and seek out the support they need to do so. You can get involved by calling the Royal Commission on 1800 771 800 or click here to sign up to the Commission’s website for updates.

The Royal Commission will be an important part of QDN’s work over the next five years. QDN will be giving regular updates to members about the Royal Commission and we will continue to work to ensure people with disability have a voice and are supported to speak out against violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect.

Important links:

Legal support National Legal Aid (NLA) together with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) will provide a free, national legal advisory service for people engaging with the Royal Commission.  You can contact NLA on 1800 771 800.

Financial Assistance Section can be contacted directly on 1800 117 995.  If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can also call the National Relay Service and give 02 6141 4770 as the number you would like to call.

Advocacy services funded under the National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP) have been given additional funding to support people with disability. Information about the program can be found at National Disability Advocacy Program, along with a Disability Advocacy Finder tool to help you locate a service provider near you.  Alternatively, you can contact the Disability Royal Commission Hotline on 1800 517 199 or at the following email DRCEnquiries@royalcommission.gov.au to assist you to find your nearest advocacy service.

Counselling support during the Disability Royal Commission is available from Blue Knot Foundation: Call 1800 421 468

Royal Commissions into Aged Care Quality and Safety interim report

QDN welcomed the release of the Royal Commission’s Interim Report into Aged Care Quality and Safety on 31 October 2019.    The report shows that aged care providers are falling short of delivering safe, high quality aged care and exposed numerous examples of neglect, abuse, mismanagement and under resourcing.

The report describes:

  • the problems that older people and their families have trying to access aged care services
  • the disheartened nature of residential care
  • serious substandard care and unsafe practice
  • underpaid and undervalued staff
  • the isolation of young people with disability in residential aged care facilities (RACFs).

There is no specific reference to people with disability aged over 65 years living in RACFs. There are around 6,000 Australians with a disability, who are under 65, who live in residential aged care facilities. The Royal Commissioner Lynelle Briggs called this a ‘national disgrace’.

The Interim Report Commissioners have identified three areas which require immediate action:

  • to provide more Home Care Packages to reduce the waiting list for high care at home
  • to respond to the significant over reliance on chemical restraint in aged care, including through the seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement
  • to stop the flow of younger people with disability going into aged care and speeding up getting those younger people who are already in aged care out.

QDN welcomes the reports recommendation that there be immediate action to provide more Home Care Packages.  An increase in Home Care Packages for people with disability, who are not eligible for the NDIS, is likely to provide better outcomes for people not eligible for the NDIS.

QDN is also pleased the report recommends immediate action to stop younger people with disability going into aged care, and to speed up the process for getting them out of aged care.  It is unacceptable for younger people in residential aged care to have to wait until up to 2025 to move to age appropriate accommodation.  We hope the Commissioners’ recommendation, to accelerate the process of getting younger people out of residential aged care, will mean that this goal is reached well before 2025.

QDN believes the NDIS needs to provide more support for younger people with disability living in nursing homes, or who are at risk of entering one, to have effective NDIS plans that include the funding they need to live as independently as possible in the community.

Since the launch of the NDIS, more young people with disability are able to get more timely access to aids and equipment, but the biggest gap at the moment is affordable and accessible housing, so the focus of the NDIS needs to be on generating more housing options.

QDN wants to better understand the lived experience of members who are over 65 and who live in residential aged care to understand their issues, as there is no reference in the Report to people with disability aged over 65 years who are accessing aged care.  Please contact QDN on 1300 363 783 or email us at qdn.org.au if you would be willing to share your experiences.

QDN intends to make a submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and will be asking members to provide feedback which will be included on our submission to the Royal Commission. QDN also encourages members to make their own submissions to the Royal Commission and will support them with the information required to make a submission. Click here for information on how submissions can be made.

The Royal Commission was granted an extension to enable it to undertake further hearings, to accept more submissions and to develop a set of recommendations.  The Final Report will now be delivered on 12 November 2020.

We will continue to keep you informed and will provide further information about how you can contribute to QDN’s submission shortly.

Click here to read the interim report.