26 September 2023

New Commissioner to enable the disabled

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Victoria could soon welcome a Commissioner for Disability Inclusion with the Department for Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) calling for input on a draft Bill to build a more inclusive and accessible community.

Opening consultation on the proposal, the Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, Colin Brooks said the draft Disability Inclusion Bill aimed to build inclusion into everything the Government did.

Mr Brooks said the Bill proposed a Commissioner for Disability Inclusion to promote and monitor progress in advancing disability inclusion and embed the social model of disability in Victoria.

“The proposed legislation would create new obligations for the public sector, local government and education institutions to promote and advance disability inclusion,” Mr Brooks said.

“It would also introduce provisions to improve transparency and accountability for progress to advance disability inclusion and achieve equality in Victoria.”

Releasing an Exposure Draft Overview Paper for consultation, DFFH said the proposed Commissioner would work across the whole of Government and with defined entities to advance disability inclusion through education and compliance activities.

It said the Commissioner would also be responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with obligations in the Bill, and compliment the work of the Victorian Disability Advisory Council.

“The Commissioner would be independent in exercising the Commissioner’s powers and performing functions,” DFFH said.

“The Commissioner would not handle individual complaints or do investigations,” it said.

“Instead, the Commissioner’s approach to disability inclusion would look at the whole population.”

DFFH said the Bill also included a rule that before delegating a power to someone, the Commissioner must consider delegating the power to a person with disability.

Mr Brooks encouraged all Victorians – and particularly people with disability – to have their say on the draft Bill by 31 October.

“Ensuring the Disability Inclusion Act is written with people with disability is central to ensuring we get the legislation right,” the Minister said.

Further information on the Draft Bill can be accessed at this PS News link and DFFH’s 47-page exposure draft can be downloaded at this link.

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