The tragic death of Adelaide woman Ann-Marie Smith - and the failure of our national disability system to prevent it – demand an independent inquiry.
Ms Smith was confined to a cane chair alone at home and not checked on for up to a year, ultimately dying in hospital at just 54, despite being on the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The police and coronial inquiry will determine individual criminal culpability.
But there must be a separate independent inquiry into the operation of the NDIS in this case that looks at blind spots and failures.
It is not good enough for NDIS Minister Stuart Robert to just blithely handball this to the NDIA Quality and Safeguards Commission.
What if that organisation becomes a subject of the inquiry into Ms Smith’s demise? Are they meant to investigate themselves? There is no way this can be done objectively.
Ann-Marie’s terrible demise is nothing short of a tragedy. She should be alive and thriving. Instead she was neglected, abandoned, and has died.
This is the nightmare of every parent with an adult child with disability.
Ann-Marie was failed in life. She will be failed in death if the Government choose to cover up, whitewash or hold only a deeply-conflicted inquiry.
This Government has ripped $4.6b out of the NDIS and stood by while more than 1200 Australians have died while waiting to access a National Disability Insurance Scheme plan riddled with delays.
It is time for them to start doing the right thing by Australians with disability.
MONDAY, 18 MAY 2020