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Resignation of NDIS Commissioner Amidst Scandal Fallout

  • Written on Feb 28, 2024

Tracey Mackey, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quality and Safeguards Commissioner, has announced her resignation, effective in May. This decision comes shortly before the release of an independent report regarding a scandal that has deeply impacted the nation.

Tracey Mackey steps down

Ministerial Statement

The Minister of Social Services confirmed that Tracey Mackey would step down from her role as NDIS Commissioner. The minister thanked Mackey for her service and expressed the government’s commitment to protecting Australians with disabilities from exploitation by unscrupulous operators. The government will now initiate the process of recruiting a new Commissioner to lead the NDIS watchdog during this critical period of reform.

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Uncovering the Scandal: Four Corners Investigation

In September last year, the investigative journalism program Four Corners broadcasted footage that revealed concerning practices at Melbourne’s Irabina Autism Services. The footage showed multiple workers restraining non-verbal teenagers with intellectual disabilities as part of the “Severe Behaviour Program.” One incident that drew significant public outrage involved six workers restraining a teenager face down.

Read More: Shocking Video Shows Autistic Children Pinned to the Ground in NDIS-Funded ABA Therapy. Four corners report.

An internal consultant report, obtained by Four Corners, unveiled repeated mistreatment spanning 17 months. Consequently, this raises significant concerns regarding the well-being of vulnerable individuals under NDIS care. Former Victorian senior practitioner, Frank Lambrick, categorically condemned these methods as “abuse.” Thus, he emphasized the urgent necessity for intervention and accountability.

Regulatory Response and Ministerial Oversight

NDIS Minister Bill Shorten expressed confusion in response to these revelations during his appearance on ABC Radio National. He stated that he believed action had been taken to shut down the program. However, subsequent events have raised doubts about the adequacy of the regulatory response.

Beth Vincent-Pietsch, CPSU Deputy National President, welcomed Mackey’s Resignation of the NDIS Commission exciting failures to ensure a safe and respectful workplace for Commission staff.

“The departure of Tracy Mackey from her role as Commissioner at the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, will be welcomed by our members.

“Ms Mackey has failed at every turn to provide staff at the Commission a safe and respectful workplace.

“People with disability and their families need the NDIS Commission to be a proactive and powerful body that regulates providers of NDIS disability support services.

Beth Vincent-Pietsch, CPSU Deputy National President

Reaffirmation of Commitment

The Albanese Government reaffirmed its dedication to safeguarding the rights and well-being of Australians with disabilities. They stressed the necessity of a robust regulatory framework capable of preventing similar incidents in the future.

The upcoming recruitment process for Mackey’s successor will face scrutiny for its potential to guide the NDIS through this challenging period of reform.

Calls for Transparency, Accountability, and Reform

As the Disability Royal Commission continues its investigations and the NDIS tackles systemic deficiencies, Mackey’s resignation highlights the pressing requirement for transparency, accountability, and authentic reform within Australia’s disability support systems. A failure to achieve this would neglect the very individuals these institutions are designed to safeguard.

Watch the Four corners program below.

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