Background information about the DSA

The DSA is an Act of the Tasmanian Parliament that sets out how individuals with disability, disability service providers, and researchers are funded. It also provides the rules for the approval and conduct of restrictive practices.

The DSA covers specialist disability services that are:

  • funded by the Tasmanian Government
  • provided directly by the Tasmanian Government and
  • registered with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Tasmania.

The DSA is supported by the Disability Services Regulations 2015 which are aligned with the National Standards for Disability Services.

There has been a lot of change in specialist disability services since the DSA began in January 2012.

The biggest change was the start of the NDIS.

This meant:

  • a new law came into power with the NDIS Act 2013
  • the Australian Government became responsible for delivering nationally consistent, specialist disability services
  • all eligible people in Tasmania were able to use NDIS from 1 July 2019 and
  • the way of funding specialty disability services changed.

Disability support providers no longer receive funding directly from the Tasmanian Government. Instead, eligible people receive funding so they can have choice and control over the support and care they need to help achieve their goals and aspirations.

The NDIS Act 2013 has also changed the way specialised services to people with disability are delivered.

The NDIS Act 2013 sets out:

  • supports and requirements for providers and
  • national rules for the quality of services, safety, and overall experiences of people with disability.

If you are interested in reading the DSA or the Disability Services Regulations (2015) the documents are available on the Tasmanian Legislation website. View - Tasmanian Legislation Online

2017-2018 Review of the Disability Services Act  2011

In 2018 a Review of the DSA undertaken by an independent consultant under the auspices of a Review Committee with wide representation. The 2018 Review focussed on the Act’s operational effectiveness since implementation. The 2018 Review also considered issues which arose as a result of the Tasmanian Bilateral Agreement for transition to the NDIS and considered how well the Act had delivered, or not delivered, benefits to people living with disability.

On 5 July 2018, the Minister for Disability Services and Community Development, the Hon Jacquie Petrusma MP, tabled in Parliament the Report of the Review Committee – 29 June 2018 (the Report). The Report was prepared by an independent Review Committee following stakeholder consultation and contained 19 recommendations.

The Government considered the recommendations in the Report and agreed to progress legislative amendments. These included:

  • updating Principles within the Act
  • making changes to the allow for interim authorisation of restrictive interventions
  • improving the scope of information sharing provisions
  • ensuring alignment with other relevant legislation.

Other recommendations were made by the Review Committee that did not require legislative amendment or were considered out of scope of the Terms of Reference for the Review. A commitment was given that these would be deferred until the current (2021) and more comprehensive review.

Following the 2018 Review amendments were made to the DSA. These amendments came into effect on 1 July 2019.

The Report of the Review Committee – 29 June 2018 and the Tasmanian Government Response to the Review will be considered as part of the Review of the DSA being undertaken in 2021.

Change to the definition of Funded Provider

In 2018 an additional Amendment to the DSA was made via the Community, Health, Human Services and Related Legislation (miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2018.

The effect of this amendment was to extend the DSA definition of Funded Provider to ensure that the regulatory provisions of the DSA also applied to National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) registered providers who were not formerly in receipt of State Government funding.