27 September 2023

New Commissioner for aged and disabled

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A new independent Commissioner for Ageing and Disability is to be appointed under new laws introduced into the Parliament last week.

Premier Galdys Berejiklian (pictured) said the State’s first independent Ageing and Disability Commissioner will protect the most vulnerable in society from abuse, neglect and exploitation.

“Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in the number of incidents of older people and people with a disability being mistreated in the community,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We will not tolerate the abuse, neglect and exploitation of our most vulnerable citizens,” she said.

She said the Commissioner will be given the power to initiate investigations into allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation, compel information from individuals or organisations, as well as apply for and execute search warrants to conduct investigations.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, Gareth Ward said the role of the Commissioner would fill a gap currently not addressed by complaint and investigative bodies.

“As the first Minister for Disabilities to have a disability, I’m proud to help introduce these important reforms into Parliament,” Mr Ward said.

“This bill goes beyond politics and will help people feel safe and respected in their home and in the community,” he said.

“A number of public inquiries and reviews have highlighted opportunities for Government to strengthen safeguards for people with disability and older people.

“We will consider these recommendations and support the people this commission will seek to protect,” Mr Ward said.

Deputy Chair of the Disability Council of NSW, Professor Eileen Baldry said the announcement was a step in the right direction.

“This is an important step to ensure people with disability and seniors in our community are protected from any form of mistreatment.

“We look forward to working with the Commissioner to support health and wellbeing outcomes for our community’s most vulnerable,” Professor Baldry said.

The Ageing and Disability Commissioner officially begins work on 1 July 2019.

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