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NSW government to appoint new Ageing and Disability Commissioner
Katherine O’Chee | 승인 2019.05.16 11:40

The NSW government has introduced legislation to create the state’s first ever independent Ageing and Disability Commissioner with powers to investigate alleged abuse and mistreatment of some of the community’s most vulnerable members.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the commissioner, who starts their position from 1 July, will be given sweeping authority to instigate investigations themselves, compel information from individuals or organisations, and issue warrants. 

“Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in the number of incidents of older people and people with a disability being mistreated in the community,” Ms Berejiklian said. 

“We will not tolerate the abuse, neglect and exploitation of our most vulnerable citizens,” she added. 

Ms Berejiklian’s announcement comes amid a royal commission into aged care, which began in February, following a series of confronting cases involving abuse, neglect and mistreatment in nursing homes across Australia.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said recent public inquiries and reviews, including the NSW Ombudsman’s standing inquiry into the abuse and neglect of adults with disability in community settings as well as the parliamentary inquiry into elder abuse in 2016, have emphasised the need for government action to “strengthen safeguards for people with disability and older people”.

The reform also comes after an increase in calls to the elder abuse hotline. 

Ms Ward said the commissioner’s role will address an area not covered by current complaint and investigative bodies, with a focus on what happens to people in their homes or in their community.

“This bill goes beyond politics and will help people feel safe and respected in their home and in the community,” she said.

The commissioner will work with new Specialist Elder Abuse Officers in each NSW Police force command as well as agencies responsible for protecting people using disability and aged care services.  

Katherine O’Chee  edit@hanhodaily.com

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