The Queensland government announced earlier this month that they have joined a national pre-work screening system ahead of the state’s transition to the NDIS Scheme. These reforms will bring Queensland into line with the rest of Australia and allow authorities across the country to share information about the potential criminal histories of NDIS Australia workers via pre-employment checks.
While criminal history checks are already in place in some states and territories for NDIS workers, the national worker screening check will operate under the COAG approved NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework and has been described by the government as being a ‘step forward from the existing fragmented arrangements operating in each state and territory’.
Under the new rules roles which are involved in the direct delivery of specified services or support to a person with disability (including subcontractors) to identify if they are a risk assessed role. Risk assessed NDIS jobs will require personnel engaged in these roles to apply for an NDIS Worker Screening Check which will include roles within Real Community Services.
New South Wales and South Australia have already commenced the full scheme implementation and the operation of their NDIS worker screening systems. Queensland, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory will commence on 1 July 2019, followed by Western Australia from 1 July 2020.
The Framework of the full scheme operation of the NDIS sets out a national system to support NDIS participants, carers and providers, ensuring clarity on the rights and responsibilities of participants, providers and their staff. While criminal history checks are already in place in some states and territories for NDIS workers, the national worker screening check will operate under the COAG approved NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework. These reforms will also enable the Queensland Government to meet its information sharing obligations for working screening with the other states.
Although the full scheme operation of the NDIS does not officially commence in Queensland (along with Victoria, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory) until 1 July 2019, Disability Services Minister Coralee O’Rourke says that the worker screening bill helps to create a consistent “safeguard” for people with disability throughout Australia and is an essential step in ensuring that Queensland is prepared for the full implementation of the NDIS in July 2019.
During this transition to the full operation of the NDIS, NDIS Queensland will continue to operate its Yellow Card system and the administration of screening and monitoring will remain the responsibility of states and territories.