Notice of application for exemption: Department of Human Services, Ageing, Disability and Home Care (NSW)

The Australian Human Rights Commission has received an application pursuant to section 44 of the Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth)(ADA) from the State of New South Wales – Department of Human Services, Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) for an exemption from section 28 and 29 of the ADA.

ADHC is responsible for licensing what are defined in the Youth and Community Services Act 1973 (NSW) (YACS Act) as ‘residential centres for handicapped persons’ (section 3 and 11-15 YACS Act) (Licensed Residential Centres).  ‘Licensed Residential Centres’ are more commonly known as licensed boarding houses. Licensed Residential Centres are privately run premises that operate for profit. In addition to accommodation, Licensed Residential Centres provide a number of services to residents such as providing meals, washing clothes, assisting with personal care and arranging medical appointments.  

Operators of Licensed Residential Centres must comply with the requirements outlined in the YACS Regulation 2010 (section 4 YACS Regulation). The YACS Regulations require that, in most circumstances, to be permitted to reside at a Licensed Residential Centre, the following people must be assessed in accordance with the ‘screening tool’ as suitable to live in a Licensed Residential Centre (section 19 YACS Regulation):

  • person who has not previously resided at a Licensed Residential Centre;
  • a person who has been absent from any licensed premises for 2 months or more; and
  • a person who has previously been admitted to a psychiatric hospital, an aged care facility or a rehabilitation centre.

ADHC has developed the screening tool.

ADHC seeks an exemption from the ADA so that it may amend the screening tool to provide that persons under 18 years of age will be deemed unsuitable to become residents of a Licensed Residential Centre.  ADHC states that Licensed Residential Centres are not suitable or safe places for persons under 18 years of age.

Documents

The application lodged by ADHC consists of the following three documents:

Submissions received

Request for Submissions

The Australian Human Rights Commission is presently considering this exemption application and invites interested parties to make submissions, preferably by email to legal@humanrights.gov.au.

Submissions may also be addressed by mail to the Legal Section, Australian Human Rights Commission, GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001.

Submissions must be received before 21 September 2011. Submissions received after this date will not be considered.

To promote open public discussion and exchange of views, the Australian Human Rights Commission intends to post submissions made electronically on its internet site. Any requests for material to be treated as confidential should be clearly indicated.