The Morrison Government must launch an independent inquiry into deaths-by-neglect in the National Disability Insurance Scheme before more Australians with disability are left to die in their homes.
New revelations in the tragic death of Ann-Marie Smith make clear the vast inadequacy of National Disability Insurance Scheme Minister Stuart Robert’s response so far to the deaths by neglect of NDIS participants.
It has emerged today that Ms Smith’s carer had previously been banned by a State Government agency before being hired by Ms Smith’s service provider Integrity Care. It has also emerged that Integrity Care failed to meet four performance requirements in a state audit in late 2017.
Mr Robert’s underwhelming response has been to refer Ms Smith’s death to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.
But this is a process made up on the run and riddled with conflicts-of-interest, in the hope it might whitewash actual national failings that could be laid at the Minister’s feet.
The Quality and Safeguards Commission is meant to be the watchdog of NDIS service providers. How is it meant to investigate itself over potential failures of oversight in relation to Integrity Care?
Under public pressure to do something the Commission last week issued a miniscule fine of $12,600 to Integrity Care over Ms Smith’s death. But this was without conducting a full investigation and before today’s details emerged.
This is clearly more political pantomime than actual process. Ann-Marie Smith and David Harris and their surviving loved ones deserve better.
Missing in action Minister Stuart Robert must come out of hiding, do his job, and launch an independent inquiry into system failures that led to these deaths.
MONDAY, 25 MAY 2020