Our Region To Benefit From New Ageing And Disability Commissioner

Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward MP has today announced that an independent Ageing and Disability Commissioner tasked with investigating and stamping out abuse across NSW including the Illawarra and South Coast, has been introduced by the New South Wales Government.

Mr Ward said that the Commissioner will target those who abuse older people and adults with disability in home and community settings.

“It is abhorrent that there are people who abuse and take advantage of vulnerable members of our local communities,” he said.

“Older people, adults with disability and their loved ones across our region will be empowered by the new Ageing and Disability Commissioner.

“The Commissioner will work closely with the new Specialist Elder Abuse Officers, who will be introduced in each Police Local Area Command to undertake crime prevention and investigate matters which involve a criminal offence,” Mr Ward said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the new Commissioner will commence on the 1st July 2019 to protect older people and people with disability.

“We will not tolerate the abuse, neglect and exploitation of older people or people with disability,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“That’s why we are introducing a powerful and independent Commissioner to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens are protected.”

The new Commissioner’s key functions will include:

  • Receiving, triaging and investigating allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation;
  • Providing support to vulnerable adults and their families/carers following an investigation;
  • Reporting and making recommendations to government on systemic issues impacting adults who are at risk of abuse, neglect and exploitation;
  • Raising community awareness about abuse, neglect and exploitation, including how to prevent, identify and respond to potential issues; and
  • Administering the Official Community Visitors program in relation to disability services and assisted boarding houses.

The establishment of the Commissioner responds to a number of recent reviews, including the NSW Parliamentary Inquiries into the Implementation of the NDIS and  Elder Abuse, the Ombudsman’s recent special report on abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults in NSW, and the NSW Law Reform Commission’s Review of the Guardianship Act.