Under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), the Attorney-General may make Disability Standards to specify rights and responsibilities about equal access and opportunity for people with a disability, in more detail and with more certainty than the DDA itself provides. The Commission has a function of advising the Attorney on making such standards. Standards can be made in the areas of employment, education, public transport services, access to premises, accommodation and the administration of Commonwealth laws and programs. This page provides links to developments in these areas. See also
- our frequently asked questions on standards, and
- the Commission's 1993 Issues Paper discussing disability standards in general; and
- a 2002 Commission internal briefing paper on implications of standards (MS Word).
The Attorney-General funded a DDA Standards Project established by disability community peak organisations to co-ordinate input by people with disabilities to standards development processes.
See also WOE or GO! - A Discussion Paper on the Disability Discrimination Standards (RTF) , National Coalition for the Development of Disability Standards, march 1994
The Commission may issue guidelines under the DDA to assist persons and organisations with responsibilities under the legislation to avoid discrimination and comply with their responsibilities. Unlike standards, these guidelines are not legally binding regulations. The Commission has issued guidelines in a number of areas under the title "Advisory Notes".
- Premises Standards - download standards and information from the Attorney-General's Department
- Guidelines on application of the Premises Standards
- Advisory Note on streetscape, public outdoor areas, fixtures, fittings and furniture in PDF or Word
Background and historical documents
- Standards tabled for parliamentary approval: 15 March 2010
- House of Representatives Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Inquiry on the draft Premises Standards. Submissions due by 13 March 2009. Updated: Terms of Reference page now includes access to key provisions of relevant Australian Standards.
- Draft standards tabled (2 December 2008) (link to Attorney-General's Department page for the Standards)
Commission guide to finding your way around the draft standards
- Commission FAQ on premises standards
- Commission draft submission.
Any comments on the Commission draft submission must be received at firstname.lastname@example.org by 9 am on 4 March 2009.
Further information in this area can be found on our access to premises page.
- Disability Standards for Education (Attorney-General's Department index page including explanatory material) or click here for direct link to Standards
- Education standards review released August 2012
- Historical background document: Commission advisory note on education, 2001
Draft standards on employment were prepared by the Commission in a process involving representatives of industry, people with disabilities and government from 1994 to 1998. These draft standards are not currently proceeding towards authorisation, as consensus for adoption of regulatory standards in this area is lacking.
In 2002 the Parliament approved Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (Attorney-General's Department index page including guidelines and explanatory material; or click here for direct link to Standards). (A previous Commission advisory note is superseded by these Standards)
The first 5 year review and Government response were released on 3 June 2011
See the transport page for more details of decisions and developments in this area.
The Commission issued a revised advisory note on accessibility of World Wide Web pages in 2010, taking account of version 2.0 of the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Advisory Guidelines. This note (version 4.0) replaces earlier versions 1996-1999 which were based on WCAG 1.0.
Revised Guidelines on insurance and superannuation were adopted by the Commission in March 2005
A discussion paper on possible standards on Commonwealth government information and communications was issued in 1996. Further work in this area has been deferred pending successful conclusion of at least some of the current standards processes on transport, access to premises and education.
Disability Service Standards
Standards under the DDA are not the same as or directly connected to the standards formulated under the Disability Services Act 1986 and equivalent State and Territory laws specifically for disability services. For convenience however we provide here links to the Disability Services Act standards for employment services and other disability services.
European standards work on accessibility including European Committee on Standardisation Guide on accessibility elements for standards work (Note: PDF file )
Guidelines for accessible information and communications technology