Discrimination, Health Services, Disability & Community Services Commissioner
I am Karen Toohey, the ACT Discrimination, Health Services & Disability and Community Services Commissioner. I was appointed to this role in 2016.
My role as Discrimination Commission, under the Discrimination Act 1991 is to:
- handle complaints of alleged discrimination
- use Commissioner Initiated Consideration (own motion investigation) powers to address systemic issues
- promote an understanding of and compliance with the Act
- build understanding of community rights and responsibilities under the Act
- undertake research and develop educational and other programs to promote the objectives of the Act
- review the consistency of ACT laws with the Act and report to the Attorney-General
- respond to requests by the Attorney-General to examine possible inconsistencies in proposed laws with the Act
- advise the Attorney-General on any matter relevant to the Act’s operation.
My role as Health Services Commissioner is to promote awareness of the rights of users of health services and work with health providers in the ACT to improve service provision and outcomes in the provision of health services in the ACT. This includes:
- handling complaints regarding the provision of all public & private health services in the ACT
- handling complaints about contraventions of the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997
- supporting improvements in the provision of health services
- promoting awareness of the rights of users of health services
- raising awareness of the responsibilities providers of health services.
I can also deal with complaints about individual registered health practitioners in the ACT. I may handle these in conjunction with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA). The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law 2010 (as modified for the ACT) and the Health Professionals Act 2004 guide my involvement in working with Health Professions Boards and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA) to protect public safety by dealing with complaints and overseeing the management of regulatory actions.
In the ACT health services also covers services provided by veterinarians.
My role in regards to Disability and Community Services is to handle complaints about:
- services for people with a disability and carers, disability service providers, the NDIA, services for carers
- services for older people in the ACT
- services for children and young people including youth justice services, child protection services, schools, sport, health services for children
My role is also to promote improvements in the provision of community services in the ACT. This includes services for people with a disability and/or their carers, older people, children, young people and their carers in the ACT. My role is also to promote:
- improvements in the provision of community services
- the rights of users of community services and their carers
- an awareness of the rights and responsibilities of users and providers of community services in the ACT
Legislation that informs my work includes: