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Disability Royal Commission a Step Closer

13 March 2019 at 5:36 pm
Luke Michael
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has committed the federal government to fully funding the disability royal commission, as the draft terms of reference for the inquiry are released.  

Luke Michael | 13 March 2019 at 5:36 pm


Disability Royal Commission a Step Closer
13 March 2019 at 5:36 pm

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has committed the federal government to fully funding the disability royal commission, as the draft terms of reference for the inquiry are released.  

Morrison said on Wednesday the Commonwealth would entirely fund the royal commission, despite last month asking state and territory leaders to consider “any cost sharing arrangements that may be appropriate”.

The government also pledged to set up the royal commission before the federal election is called, and has released the draft terms of reference allowing people to have their say on the commission’s scope before 28 March.

The terms of reference said the commission will examine “all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability, whatever the setting or context”.

It will also look at what governments, institutions and the community should do to prevent and better protect people with disability.

Every Australian Counts Campaign Director Kirsten Deane said the disability community was relieved to see concrete action being taken on the inquiry, and she urged people with disability to respond to the terms of reference.

“People with disability and their families must have their say on what the commission will investigate,” Deane said.

“People with disability are the experts in their own experience.  It is their voices that must be heard – and acted on. This is the only way to end the violence and abuse so many people in our community are facing.”

She also said the inquiry must include people with disability as commissioners and ensure support was offered to help people with disability to come forward and tell their stories.

People with Disability Australia co-CEO Matthew Bowden agreed, and said advocates would be looking for a dedicated line in this year’s federal budget to give real costings for the inquiry, and to ensure appropriate supports are funded for people to engage in the commission.

“Providing a safe and accessible environment for people with disability, wherever they are, to engage with this process will ultimately shape the effectiveness of this royal commission,” Bowden said.

Greens disability spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John welcomed the draft terms of reference, but said certain key elements were still missing.

He said he had expected redress to be explicitly mentioned in the terms of reference to provide future certainty for survivors, as it had been for Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“A clear pathway forward for survivors of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect must be included in any royal commission including prosecution, investigation and most importantly, redress,” he said.

Labor has also committed to a fully federally funded royal commission and has pledged at least $26 million for the inquiry if elected.

While it is not yet known how much a disability inquiry would cost, the aged care royal commission is expected to cost nearly $100 million and the baking royal commission cost about $75 million.

Morrison has previously said a disability royal commission should be of “a similar size and standing” to the $373 million child sexual abuse inquiry, which lasted five years.

The PM added on Wednesday that all cases would be considered by the inquiry, with no time limit on how far back an incident could occur.  

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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