Tighter checks on disability workers will be part of new laws to replace an existing worker screening system for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Instead, a new nationally aligned system would strengthen safeguards for people with disability and streamline processes.

New laws expand the range of offences that disqualify people from being employed as NDIS workers, including sexual and serious assault offences committed against children and vulnerable people.

A broader range of information will be considered as part of the check to make sure there is a comprehensive assessment of risk.

Minister Crawford said the Bill would enable the monitoring of a clearance holders’ criminal history across all states and territories.

“This means that if someone commits an offence in another state or territory, we will know about it and be able to take action to assess whether the person should be issued with an exclusion,” he said.

“This will strengthen the system and support us to be able to make clearances valid for five years, reducing red-tape for service providers and individuals.

“Clearances will also be portable across states and territories, which will support the operation of the NDIS as a national scheme”.

Importantly, the department’s Chief Executive will have greater powers to be able to suspend a clearance if a change occurs and there is an unacceptable risk of harm to people with disability.

Mr Crawford said the Bill also included provisions to enable Queensland to operate a state disability worker screening system for certain disability services it continues to fund, or deliver, which don’t fall under the NDIS.

“The evidence that we are hearing in the course of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability is a stark reminder of the criticality of ensuring appropriate safeguards within our service systems,” he said.

“I am proud, as the Minister for Seniors and Disability Services and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, that I can introduce this Bill and help to enhance safeguards under the NDIS.”

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