Legislation and Policy

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) provides protection for everyone in Australia against discrimination based on disability. The Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was enacted in 1992 following years of lobbying by women and men with disabilities and human rights activists who recognised that national legislation equal to the Race Discrimination Act and the Sex Discrimination Act was urgently required to protect and enhance the rights of people with disabilities. The DDA makes it unlawful to discriminate in the provision of goods, services or facilities against people on the basis that they have, have had, or may have, a disability. The Act also makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person on the basis that one of her or his associates may have a disability.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013

Establishes a framework for the National Disability Insurance Scheme by: setting out the objects and principles of the scheme, including people with disability being given choice and control over the care and support they receive, and giving effect to certain obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; providing for the establishment and functions of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Launch Transition Agency, including implementing the scheme from July 2013; and providing for a review of the operation of the Act after a two-year period.

The Sex Discrimination Act

The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, marital status, pregnancy or potential pregnancy in a range of areas of public life. These areas include work, accommodation, education, the provision of goods, facilities and services, the activities of clubs and the administration of Commonwealth laws and programs. Among other things, the Sex Discrimination Act seeks to eliminate discrimination involving dismissal of employees with family responsibilities and to eliminate sexual harassment in areas of public activity. The rights and responsibilities of pregnant and potentially pregnant workers in the workplace were clarified by the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Pregnancy and Work) Act 2003.

The Disability Services Act (1986)

The Disability Services Act was passed in 1986 with the aim of providing a coordinated approach to assisting people with disability gain and maintain employment. The Disability Services Act provides a legislative and funding framework for a range of disability services, most significantly employment services. The Disability Services Act also provides for a set of guiding standards for the delivery of quality services known as the Disability Services Standards.

The National Disability Agreement

The National Disability Agreement, introduced in 2009, represents the peak partnership agreement between the Australian and state and territory governments.  It features clear roles and responsibilities for each level of government and joins these efforts together though nationally agreed objectives and outcomes for people with disability, their families and carers. The Agreement sets out the responsibility of the Australian Government to provide income support and employment support to people with disabilities.  It is the role of the states and territories to deliver specialist disability services such as disability supported accommodation, respite and community support services such as therapy, early childhood interventions, life skills and case management.

The National Disability Strategy

The National Disability Strategy outlines a 10-year national policy framework to guide government activity across six key outcome areas and to drive future reforms in mainstream and specialist disability service systems to improve outcomes for people with disability, their families and carers. It represents a commitment by all levels of government, industry and the community to a unified, national approach to policy and program development. The Commonwealth, state, territory and local governments have developed the Strategy in partnership under the auspices of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). The National Disability Strategy was formally endorsed by COAG on 13 February 2011.

Standing Council on Community, Housing and Disability Services (SCCHDS)

Membership of the SCCHDS is made up of Commonwealth, State, Territory and New Zealand Ministers with responsibility for community, housing and disability matters, and the Australian Local Government Association. The Council provides a forum for member Governments to discuss matters of mutual interest and progress key national reforms in the areas of social and subsidised housing, child protection, disability, carers, seniors, concessions, disaster recovery and community services.