The National Disability Strategy is an initiative of the Council of Australian Governments and represents a 10 year plan for national policy and program reform to improve the lives of those with a disability and their families / carers.
The Strategy was developed following nationwide consultation, discussion papers and the release of the Shut Out report and aims to:-
• Establish a high level policy framework
• Enhance the capacity of mainstream services to deliver outcomes for the disabled
• Improve awareness of disability issues
• Provide national leadership to increase the inclusion of people with disabilities

The six priority areas outlined in the Strategy are:

1. Inclusive and accessible communities – the physical environment including public transport; parks, buildings and housing; digital information and communications technologies; civic life including social, sporting, recreational and cultural life.

Policy Directions:
• Increased participation of people with disability, their families and carers in the social, cultural, religious, recreational and sporting life of the community.
• Improved accessibility of the built and natural environment through planning and regulatory systems, maximising the participation and inclusion of every member of the community.
• Improved provision of accessible and well-designed housing with choice for people with disability about where they live.
• A public, private and community transport system that is accessible for the whole community
• Communication and information systems that are accessible, reliable and responsive to the needs of people with disability, their families and carers

Performance Indicators:
• Proportion of people with disability reporting difficulties using public transport
• Proportion of people with disability participating in common cultural and recreational activities

2. Rights protection, justice and legislation – statutory protections such as anti-discrimination measures, complaints mechanisms, advocacy, the electoral and justice systems.

Policy Directions:
• Increase awareness and acceptance of the rights of people with disability
• Remove societal barriers preventing people with a disability from participating as equal citizens
• People with disability have access to justice
• People with disability to be safe from violence, exploitation and neglect
• More effective responses from the criminal justice system to people with disability who have complex needs or heightened vulnerabilities

Performance Indicators:
• Feelings of safety in different situations by disability category
• Proportion of people with disability participating in civic life
• Proportion of complaints under the Disability Discrimination Act, by sub-category (eg employment, education)

3. Economic security – jobs, business opportunities, financial independence, adequate income support for those not able to work, and housing

Policy Directions:
• Increase access to employment opportunities as a key to improving economic security and personal wellbeing for people with disability, their families and carers
• Income support and tax systems to provide an adequate standard of living for people with disability, their families and carers; while fostering personal financial independence and employment
• Improve access to housing options that are affordable and provide security of tenure

Performance Indicators:
• Proportion of people with disability participating in the labour force
• Proportion of people with disability in both private and public sector employment
• Difference between the average income of people with disability and the average income for all Australians
• Proportion of people with disability experiencing housing stress

4. Personal and community support – inclusion and participation in the community, person-centred care and support provided by specialist disability services and mainstream services; informal care and support

Policy Directions:
• A sustainable disability support system which is person-centred and self-directed, maximising opportunities for independence and participation in the economic, social and cultural life of the community
• A disability support system which is responsive to the particular needs and circumstances of people with complex and high needs for support
• Universal personal and community support services are available to meet the needs of people with disability, their families and carers
• The role of families and carers is acknowledged and supported

Performance Indicators:
• Proportion of the potential population accessing disability services
• Proportion of the potential population expressing unmet demand for disability support services
• Proportion of carers of people with disability accessing support services to assist in their caring role
• Proportion of Indigenous people receiving disability services

5. Learning and skills – early childhood education and care, schools, further education, vocational education; transitions from education to employment; life-long learning

Policy Directions:
• Strengthen the capability of all education providers to deliver inclusive high quality educational programs for people with all abilities from early childhood through to adulthood.
• Focus on reducing the disparity in educational outcomes for people with a disability and others
• Ensure that government reforms and initiatives for early childhood, education, training and skill development are responsive to the needs of people with disability
• Improve pathways for students with disability from school to further education, employment and lifelong learning

Performance Indicators:
Educational achievement of people with disability
• Proportion of people with disability in mainstream schools
• Proportion of people aged 19-25 with disability who have attained at least Year 12 or equivalent qualification
• Proportion of people with disability with post-school qualifications

6.  Health and wellbeing – health services, health promotion and the interaction between health and disability systems; wellbeing and enjoyment of life

Policy Directions:
• All health service providers (including hospitals, general practices, specialist services, allied health, dental health, mental health, population health programs and ambulance services) have the capabilities to meet the needs of people with disability
• Timely, comprehensive and effective prevention and early intervention health services for people with disability
• Universal health reforms and initiatives address the needs of people with disability, their families and carers
• Factors fundamental to wellbeing and health status such as choice and control, social participation and relationships, to be supported in government policy and program design

Performance Indicators:
• Proportion of people with a disability who report their health status as ‘good’ or better
• Access to general practitioners, dental and other primary health care professionals for people with disability
• Risk factors for preventable disease in people with disability

Some of the initiatives undertaken to date under the National Disability Strategy include:-
• Accessible Communities Program
• Increasing Accessibility Library
• Leaders for Tomorrow
• Ramp Up website
• National Disability Insurance Scheme
• Liveable Housing Design Initiative
• Cinema Access Implementation Plan

For more information about the National Disability Strategy please click here

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