Summary publication

Working towards Equality for People with Disability

December 2017

In 2016 – 2017, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Alastair McEwin, spoke to many people with disability about their lives and the changes they need. Based on what he was told, this document outlines the big issues the Commissioner will focus on to improve the lives of people with disability over the next four years.

The work of the Commission is underpinned by Australian disability discrimination laws, which promote equal treatment, no discrimination and the taking of positive steps to address the marginalisation faced by people with disability.

Our work also promotes the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. These include rights to participation and choice, to live independently, and to equal treatment and accessibility.

We will work with everyone to promote human rights for all people with disability.



Our vision: People with disability live in our communities where they like and with whom they like.

We will:

  • Encourage the government to pass new laws so new housing is accessible to people with disability. This includes when rebuilding in areas affected by natural disasters like fires and floods.
  • Advocate for choice and support for people with disability to live in accessible housing in the community.


Our vision: People with disability have access to quality education on an equal basis with other people.

We will:

  • Advocate for the importance of inclusive education for people with disability.
  • Increase awareness in schools and educational settings of the Disability Standards for Education.
  • Promote and share examples of quality inclusive education.


Our vision: People with disability have increased access to work and are included in the workplace.

We will:

  • Work with the government and business sector to put into action recommendations in our Willing to Work report.
  • Encourage employers to hire and support more people with disability.
  • Encourage the government to cover some costs of making workplaces more accessible.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Our vision: People with disability have the funding and support they require to live independently in the community.

We will:

  • Discuss with the community human rights issues arising in the NDIS.
  • Encourage the government to provide advocacy support for the NDIS.
  • Advocate for the NDIS to be accessible to people with disability in rural and remote areas, people with disability from culturally diverse backgrounds, and people with disability from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.


Our vision: People with disability are safe and free from violence.

We will:

  • Raise awareness of people’s rights to be safe from violence.
  • Promote ways to address and prevent violence against people with disability in institutional settings.
  • Promote ways to report abuse that suit people with different needs.

Criminal Justice System

Our vision: People with disability are not over-represented in criminal justice processes and get the support they require when involved in the system.

We will:

  • Raise awareness with state and territory governments about factors that contribute to people with disability being over-represented in criminal justice processes, and promote solutions to reduce this.
  • Raise awareness with police, court staff and judges about how to identify people with disability, and how to support them.
  • Promote to government and the justice sector the importance of providing help to people with disability involved in the criminal justice system so that they are treated fairly, such as providing interpreters and support people, as recommended in our Equal Before The Law report.

These big issues will be addressed and developed through project work undertaken by the Commissioner.

We know there are many other issues affecting people with disability. Areas we will monitor are access to health, transport, buildings, communications, and goods and services. We will also monitor community attitudes and the National Disability Strategy.