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The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability is now accepting submissions.

Submissions can be made using the form available on the Royal Commission Submissions page. An Easy Read version of the form is also available.

If you need assistance in making a submission you can contact them using the information below.  The Australian Government is also funding a legal advisory service and advocacy support for people who want assistance to make a submission.  This support will be available shortly, and people can subscribe to their Mailing list so they will be advised as soon as support services are available.

You can contact the Disability Royal Commission:

  • by email at
  • by telephone on 1800 517 199 (9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday AEDT excluding public holidays)
  • by post at GPO Box 1422, Brisbane Qld 4001

Two Commissioners must step down

DANA, on behalf of its members, joined with Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) and Disabled Peoples Organisations Australia (DPOA) to encourage public debate about conflicts of interest among the people appointed by the Government to be commissioners of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

People with disability, and our organisations and supporters, have been calling for a Royal Commission into the epidemic of violence against us for many years.

Sadly, we believe two of the Commissioners appointed by the Government have significant conflicts of interest that threaten the integrity of the Royal Commission process. In addition, we want all Commissioners to fully declare any and all potential, perceived or actual conflicts of interests, and be willing to step aside from hearings that involve their conflicts of interest.

People with disability, and our organisations and supporters, call for the Hon. John Ryan, AM, and Ms Barbara Bennett, PSM, to step down as Commissioners for our Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, due to the real, perceived and potential conflicts of interest arising from their past roles.

We need to have complete confidence that our Royal Commission is a place where we can give evidence safely. People with disability must be able to tell our stories to Commissioners, knowing that we can seek and receive justice from them and the body they represent. We need to feel safe in telling our stories, some of which involve the public institutions and bureaucracies that have been responsible for violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Therefore, the Commissioners for our Royal Commission need to be above reproach, free of any perceived or potential bias or influence and have the primary interests of people with disability at the heart of what they do.

The broad disability community, and our supporters, believe that Mr Ryan and Ms Bennett have significant conflicts of interest due to their past roles and, if unaddressed, this may threaten the integrity and participation of people with disability in our Royal Commission.

Mr Ryan, as a very recent senior public servant for the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (Ageing, Disability and Home Care), has been involved with oversight of residential care programs for people with disability in NSW. Ms Bennett was recently the Deputy Secretary of the Families and Communities Branch of the Department of Social Services (DSS) in the Commonwealth Government, and at various times oversaw the Commonwealth workplace health and compensation scheme, the National Redress Scheme, welfare, family safety, housing and homelessness, and grants to the disability sector. DSS also funds and oversees disability services and Australian Disability Enterprises. Therefore, both had responsibility for organisations that are likely to come under significant scrutiny by our Royal Commission. As such, their involvement raises major concerns about their conflict of interest, whether potential, perceived or real.

We understand that Mr Ryan and Ms Bennett are respected public servants who sought to make a positive contribution to ending abuse and violence through this Royal Commission. However, we believe this work would be best served if they acknowledged their real, potential or perceived conflicts of interest and step aside. We call upon them to do in the best interests of people with disability, and the integrity of our Royal Commission.

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