A New Act to Replace the Disability Services Act 1986:
A joint submission from Disability Representative Organisations
The proposal to repeal and replace the Disability Services Act 1986 (the Act) represents a significant opportunity to provide the vision and direction for the rights of people with disability in Australia for years to come. The Act was progressive for its time, based on the views of people with disability and their families following a substantial period of consultation and development. We highlight that the Act’s positioning of supported employment at the time was a topic of debate.1 The Act is now outdated, pre-dating key legislative and policy reforms like the passing of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, inception of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), and the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Repeal of the Act provides the opportunity to modernise the conceptual understandings in the new legislative framework. This should make sure that there is a strong drive towards people with disability living their lives as equal citizens, engaging in education, employment, social, political, spiritual and cultural pursuits alongside their peers. Disability Representative Organisations (DROs) and other individuals and organisations supporting this submission welcome the opportunity to provide input into the Department of Social Services (DSS) consultation on a New Act to Replace the Disability Services Act 1986.