Newspaper feature article – ‘The Inclusion Debate’



Australian Disability Legislation and Guidelines



  • Disability Discrimination Act (1992)

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) prohibits discrimination of people with disability in workplace and other areas including: education; access to premises; goods, services and facilities; and accommodation.

  • Disability Discrimination Regulations (1996)

The Disability Discrimination Regulations cover combat duties, combat-related duties and access to public transportation services and facilities.

  • Disability Discrimination Amendment Bill (2002)

This amendment allowed the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) to grant exemptions from disability standards dealing with public transportation services and facilities, including on grounds of unjustifiable hardship.

  • Disability Discrimination and Other Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill (2009)

This amendment provided an explicit and positive duty to make reasonable adjustments for people with disability.

  • National Arts and Disability Strategy (2009)

The National Arts and Disability Strategy (NADS) seeks to “improve coordination and collaboration across governments, helping to ensure that all Australians with a disability have the opportunity to engage fully in arts and cultural activities.”

  • National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy (2009)

This Strategy sets out a number of priority actions to assist Australians with disability, including mental illness, into work. It recognises the importance of education and training as a pathway to sustainable employment, and the role of employers in increasing employment opportunities for people with disability.

  • Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards (2010)

These standards set performance requirements and provide references to technical specifications to ensure dignified access to, and use of, buildings for people with disability.

  • National Disability Strategy (2010 to 2020)

The development of this National Disability Strategy is the first time in Australia’s history that all governments have committed to a unified, national approach to improving the lives of people with disability, their families and carers, and to providing leadership for a community-wide shift in attitudes

Australian Capital Territory

The objects of this Act are to enable people with disability to receive the services necessary to enable them to achieve their maximum potential as members of the community.

The objects of this Act are to eliminate, so far as possible, discrimination to which this Act applies in the areas of work, education, access to premises, the provision of goods, services, facilities and accommodation and the activities of clubs; and to promote recognition and acceptance within the community of the principle of equality of opportunity for all people.

  • Policy Framework for Children and Young People with Disability and their Families (2009)

This policy framework is for children and young people under the age of 18 who are living in the ACT, and who have a disability that results in an ongoing need for support in one of the core activity areas of mobility, communication and/or self care.


New South Wales

Part 4a of the Act stipulates “Discrimination on ground of Disability”. This considers past, future and presumed disability; what constitutes discrimination on the ground of disability; and what constitutes unjustifiable hardship. The act includes areas such as discrimination in work, education, provision of goods and services, accommodation and registered clubs.

The objects of the community welfare legislation are to promote, protect, develop, maintain and improve the well-being of the people of New South Wales to the maximum extent possible and to ensure the provision, to the maximum extent possible, of services for, and assistance to, persons disadvantaged because of physical or intellectual impairment (among other things).

Standards in Action builds on the Department of Community Services publication “The NSW Disability Services Standards: The Next Step Forward and provides more guidance on how to implement the minimum and enhanced standards.”

An Act relating to the provision of disability services for persons with disability in NSW.

  • NSW Disability Service Standards (1996)

This document outlines the NSW Disability Services Standards and provides a copy of the NSW Disability Services Act (1993) which requires all services for people with disability, funded or provided by the Minister for Ageing and Disability, to conform to the Principles and Application of Principle of the Act.

This manual provides a specific resource for services working with children and young people with disability to support quality service delivery in accordance with relevant legislation and standards.


Northern Territory

  • Disability Services Act (2008)

An Act to set out the principles to be furthered with respect to persons with disabilities and objectives for providers of services and researchers; to make various provisions for the funding of disability services; and for related purposes.

  • Disability Service Standards implementation guide

The intent of the Northern Territory Disability Service Standards is to ensure disability services provided to consumers are consistent with the Principles and Objectives of the Northern Territory Disability Services Act.

  • Anti-Discrimination Act (2011)

An Act to promote equality of opportunity in the Territory by protecting persons from unfair discrimination in certain areas of activity and from sexual harassment and certain associated objectionable conduct, to provide remedies for persons discriminated against and for related purposes.



  • Anti-Discrimination Act (1991)

An Act to promote equality of opportunity for everyone by protecting them from unfair discrimination in certain areas of activity and from sexual harassment and certain associated objectionable conduct

  • Disability Services Act (2006)

The new Act provides the strongest foundation Queenslanders have ever had for promoting the rights of people with disability, increasing their wellbeing and encouraging their participation in the life of the community. It includes measures to safeguard the rights and safety of people with disability and combines with existing systems to improve the quality of services they receive.

  • Disability Sector Quality System

The Disability Sector Quality System (DSQS) began in July 2004 and provides a framework that acknowledges the importance of delivering quality services which are responsive to the needs of people with a disability.

  • Disability Services Regulation (2006)

The regulation details basic requirements for funded non-
government service providers in relation to
governance and accountability, protecting people
from abuse, neglect or exploitation, deciding eligibility, resolving complaints, keeping a register of policies
and collecting and reporting data.

The Regulation also specifies the level of insurance funded non-government service providers must have and some records that services must keep.

  • Queensland Government Disability Service Plans

Under the Disability Services Act (Qld) 2006, each Queensland Government department is required to develop a disability service plan (DSP). DSPs outline the way each department is working to improve access to government services and to provide appropriate services for people with a disability and their families.

  • Positive Futures

Positive Futures is one of the most significant reforms ever undertaken in Queensland’s disability sector. This important initiative promotes a positive behaviour support approach for providing stronger protection of rights and a better life for adults with an intellectual or cognitive disability who exhibit challenging behaviours.


South Australia

  • SA Equal Opportunity Act (1984)

The Act aims to prevent discrimination against people and to give them a fair chance to take part in economic and community life.

The objects of this Act are to set out principles that are to be applied with respect to persons with disability, disability services and for researchers.



An Act to prohibit discrimination and other specified conduct and to provide for the investigation and conciliation of, and inquiry into, complaints in relation to such discrimination and conduct.

In December 2009 work began to review the Tasmanian Disability Services Act 1992. As a consequence of the review and through a process of consultation with the disability sector and other key stakeholders, the Disability Services Bill 2011 was developed and passed by both Houses of the Tasmanian Parliament in September 2011. The main feature of the new legislation is that it includes a broader human rights perspective in line with Australia’s ratification of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.



This Act made it a requirement for all public sector bodies to plan for access and inclusion through disability action plans. It sets out four purposes for disability action plans, called Outcome Areas, which are:

  • Access (to goods and services)
  • Employment
  • Inclusion and Participation
  • Attitudes

Requires all public authorities to comply with these rights when providing services from 2008.

This new Act replaces the Equal Opportunity Act 1995 and strengthens discrimination laws in Victoria. The objectives of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 are to encourage the identification and elimination of discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation and their causes, and to promote and facilitate the progressive realisation of equality.


Western Australia

  • Western Australia Equal Opportunity Act (1984)

The Act aims to eliminate discrimination on the grounds of sex, marital status, pregnancy or breast feeding, family responsibility or family status, race, religious or political conviction, impairment, age or gender history.

An Act for the establishment of the Disability Services Commission and the Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability, for the furtherance of principles applicable to people with disability, for the funding and provision of services to such people that meet certain objectives, for the resolution of complaints by such people, and for related purposes.




Produced with material from:

  • Access Arts Queensland
  • Accessible Arts NSW
  • Arts Access Victoria



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