This page features the news on disability from Australia in the Debrief Library. See also news from other countries.


Accessibility and Design

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Uneven path to a decent home: Australians with a disability face battle for accessible housing. (Oct, the Guardian)

One-size-fits-all model of accessible housing ‘a disaster’ for Australians with disability. “There should be an option for us to stay together as a family and not be forced to relinquish care just because we don’t have the funds to build an accessible house.” (May, the Guardian)

Assistive Technology

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Living with COVID-19 in the time of OMICRON: Escalating risks for people with disability in Australia and recommendations how to address them. (Jan, Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health)


Predictors of vaccine hesitancy among disability support workers in Australia. A survey showed that 50% of disability support workers were vaccine hesitant. (Sep, Disability and Health)

Australian vaccine contractor prioritises aged care "NDIS participant vaccine rates remain lower than general population" (Jan, the Guardian)

Living with COVID

Civil Society and Community

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Our understanding of limb difference is changing, and these young Australians are leading the way (Jul, ABC News)

Climate Crisis and Environment

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Eco-ableism? Banning Straws’ Impact on Disabled People. “This month, Victoria became the latest Australian state to ban single-use plastics, including straws. While this is a win for the environment and marine life, it will come at a price for social inclusion.” (Feb, Mirage)

Communication and Language

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Sign Languages

The art of interpreting standup comedy in sign language. (Jun, the Guardian)

Culture, Entertainment and Media

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Artists unmask disabilities in push to break barriers and challenge attitudes around music in Australia. (Mar, ABC News)

Revamped national cultural policy includes a national arts and disability plan. (Jan, NME)

From homeless and busking to the main stage: Rodney Bell’s wheelchair dance tours Australia | Dance | The Guardian (Aug, the Guardian)


Australian advertisers striving for inclusiveness through disability representation. (Mar, ABC News)

Data and Research

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New Disability Dashboards released “These dashboards offer a new way to access and understand data and insights about the main disability types represented in the NDIS.” (Dec, NDIS)


A step closer to inclusive disability research The National Disability Research Partnership Learnings and Recommendations report. (Nov, NDRP)

Doing research inclusively: co-production in action “provides practical strategies for every step of the co-design process in research.” (May)

Digital Accessibility and Technology

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Social Media

Young people living with disability share experiences and create communities through social media. (Aug, ABC News)

Disaster Risk Reduction and Crisis Response

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Flood Response Failed to Protect Most at Risk. “Human Rights Watch found that New South Wales and local authorities did not provide adequate flood warnings, evacuation, or rescue support, leaving older people, people with disabilities, and those who were pregnant facing life-threatening circumstances with little government assistance.” (Nov, Human Rights Watch)

"I'm about to drown": one phone call Sam Connor received during the recent floods. (Mar, Hireup)

Pleas for NSW flood survivors with disability to be prioritised for urgent housing, care. (Mar, ABC News)

Floods can worsen inequality. Here are 4 ways we can ensure people with disabilities aren't left behind (Apr, the Conversation)

Economics and Social Protection

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The case for philanthropy in disability: “Deloitte Access Economics used HILDA data to examine benefits to health and wellbeing ($57bn), employment ($25.6bn) and education ($1.7bn) if Australia deliberately includes people with disability. This analysis shows that the cumulative inclusion dividend is $84bn per annum.” (Feb, Achieve Foundation)

Disability royal commission says neglect and abuse costs $46 billion a year. Analysis quantifies economic impacts: “The cost of system failures – such as lost productivity due to low employment – was calculated at $27.7 billion. [...] Interpersonal maltreatment – such as violence in the home, sexual violence, child abuse and neglect – was costed at $18.3 billion.” (Feb, The Sydney Morning Herald)

Social Protection

Suggesting NDIS cuts to pay for expensive submarines is the latest attack on disabled people. “The last few weeks have seen an intensification of the predicted pre-federal budget attacks on the NDIS, with a wide range of articles and interviews being published, and the conservative social media in full agreement. These pieces are often shared alongside disgusting slurs against disabled people.” (Mar, the Guardian)

Disability services need to employ more people with lived experience. “New research from the University of Sydney finds almost a quarter of Australian disability services do not employ any people with disability, and 20% employ less than three people with disability.” (Feb, Phys Org)

“There’s been no apology for a mistake that nearly killed me.” The disability community speaks out on Robodebt. (Feb, Hireup)

NDIS funding isn't just a one-way street – it helps participants secure work and give back to the economy. “I was disabled enough to actually qualify for the Paralympics, but not disabled enough to qualify for any assistance on the NDIS” (Nov, ABC News)

Two-year wait for a wheelchair: inquiry hears of difficulty accessing NDIS for remote Indigenous communities (Jul, the Guardian)

When is a condition 'chronic' and when is it a 'disability'? The definition can determine the support you get (Jun, the Conversation)

Two directors of care provider charged with criminal neglect over death of Ann Marie Smith. (Jun, the Guardian)

Hackers Steal a ‘Very Large’ Batch of Private Data from Australia’s Disability Scheme: “this kind of data breach puts vulnerable people at serious risk of identity theft, fraud, and scams,” (Jun, Vice)

Concern millions of Australians with disability not on the NDIS have been 'forgotten' (May, ABC News)

National Disability Insurance Agency scrutinised woman’s social media posts to challenge her eligibility for the scheme (Mar, the Guardian)

Education and Childhood

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Special schools should be abolished “Educators are pushing for special schools to be scrapped and for all students to be educated together, regardless of their abilities.” (Feb, Herald Sun)

Experts slam ‘culture of low expectations’ surrounding kids with disability, ‘routinely being let down by a widespread lack of support across both mainstream and specialist schools.’ (Jun, The Educator)

What we should all know about authentic inclusive classrooms (Jul, EduResearch Matters)

Why do students with disability go to 'special schools' when research tells us they do better in the mainstream system? (Jun, the Conversation)

‘Devastating impact’: Rise in proportion of disabled students expelled from Victorian government schools during COVID pandemic. “We expect it to be worse this year,” she said. “Every time students have gone back to school following a lockdown period, we have seen both formal and informal exclusions increase.” (Apr, The Age)

Higher Education

Barriers facing disabled activism at university: ‘Disability is often relegated to “second-class” status in student activism. More effort, listening and discernment is needed from other activists to build a genuinely inclusive student movement.’ (Aug, Honi Soit)

Women with disabilities 'underestimated' as battle for equality in science careers heats up. (Jul, ABC News)

Employment, Business and Work

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Research reveals employer attitudes to disability. “The survey of Australian Network on Disability’s 400 member organisations, including some of the country’s biggest corporations, major universities, and government departments, found 68 per cent do not have targets for the employment of people with disability.” (Mar, Pro Bono)

Australia is lagging when it comes to employing people with disability – “it will need to take affirmative action.” (Feb, The Conversation)

Many Australian bosses believe disabled staff faking impairment. (Feb, Daily Telegraph)

Royal Commission report finds Disability Employment Services (DES) program failed to provide appropriate support. (Jan, Royal Commission) Further reaction on the Guardian.

(Under)valuing lived experience in the disability workforce: “this study examined the ways in which lived experience was described as an asset in disability workforce recruitment.” (Sep, Australian Journal of Social Issues)

'The gap is widening': disability advocates say not all Australians are enjoying equal employment opportunities. (Jul, SBS News)

Low staff turnover, high loyalty and productivity gains: the business benefits of hiring people with intellectual disability (May, the Conversation)

People with disability working for legal pay as low as $2.27 an hour, inquiry hears (Apr, the Guardian)

Increasing board and executive representation (Jan, Australian Network on Disability)


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Access to general practice for people with intellectual disability in Australia: a systematic scoping review. (Nov)

Hospitals only note a person's intellectual disability 20% of the time – so they don't adjust their care. “Potentially avoidable deaths (from conditions that could have been prevented through individualised care or treatment, like viral pneumonia, asthma, or diabetes) are more than twice as likely in people with intellectual disability.” (May, the Conversation)

History and Memorial

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Remembering Stella Young a webpage dedicated to her life and memory. (Mar)

Remembering Stella Young a statue of Stella in her hometown, Stawell. “I am not a snowflake. I am not a sweet, infantilising symbol of fragility and life. I am a strong, fierce, flawed adult woman. I plan to remain that way, in life and in death.” (Mar, Northern Grampians Shire Council)

Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees

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Small changes could bridge communication and cultural gaps for people from refugee backgrounds who need disability support. (Jul, the Conversation)

The association between chronic pain and pre-and-post migration experiences in resettled humanitarian refugee women residing in Australia. “Chronic pain was reported in 45% (n = 139) of women, and among these a further 66% (n = 120) also reported having a long-term disability or health condition that had lasted 12 months.” (May, BMC Public Health)


Perth family facing deportation as son's Down syndrome diagnosis deemed taxpayer burden. (Mar, ABC News)

Cairns family facing deportation “After living in Australia for more than a decade, a Korean couple is facing deportation because their son, who was born here, has autism.” (Nov, 9 News)

Bangladeshi refugee describes 'humiliating' treatment because of disability while detained on Nauru. (Oct, SBS News)

Migrants with disability are discriminated against with 'impossible' health requirements, advocacy groups say. “We're working with a young man who came to Australia as an asylum seeker and had a stroke. The federal government supports him to live in a nursing home, but they won’t allow him access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme to receive the support he needs to live a good life in the community.” (Apr, SBS News)

Indigenous People and Minority Communities

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The I Am, Movement designs 'culturally safe' education resources for Indigenous children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. (Aug, ABC News)

Indigenous people with disabilities face racism and ableism. ‘I coined the term “racial-ableism” to capture the intersectionality of these experiences at the cultural interface.’ (Aug, the Conversation)

From employment barriers to food insecurity, the challenges of the pandemic have only intensified for First Nations Australians with disabilities (Jun, Minority Rights Group International)

Institutions and Deinstitutionalization

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People with disabilities in group homes are suffering shocking abuse. New housing models could prevent harm. “This latest report shows 17,000 Australians living in group homes are too frequently subjected to sexual misconduct, coercion, serious injury, abuse and neglect.” (Jan, The Conversation) See also the lack of independent monitoring of group homes (The Guardian).

Damning aged care audit reveals abuse and neglect of residents across the country. (Oct, the Guardian)

Victorian government seizes control of supported care homes over abuse, ‘uninhabitable conditions’ (Jan, SMH)

International Cooperation

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Important day for Australia in leaving no-one behind in development program (Nov, CBM Australia)

Profile of Jane Edge, CEO of CBM Australia (Jul, Probono Australia)

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Detainees with disabilities in 'spiral of hopelessness' “People with disabilities in the criminal justice system feel like they exist in a "black hole" after an international torture prevention body cancelled a visit to Australia.” (Mar, ABC News)

Report outlines framework for supported decision-making for people with cognitive disability. (Jan, Royal Commission)

Study in New South Wales shows that young people with a disability are overrepresented in the youth justice system: "Factors such as age of initial engagement with disability-related services, remoteness of residence, and frequency of child protection contact were strongly associated with the likelihood of a young person with disability having criminal justice contact before the age of 18". (Jan, NSW BOSCAR)

Trapped, stripped of assets, and silenced. And it’s all perfectly legal photo-essay feature on challenging public guardianship. (Mar, ABC News)

Lived Experience and Opinion

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My talking, flameless stove How my talking induction stove gave me the confidence to cook. (Mar, ABC News)

Re-Frame 2022 a TV show showcasing “stories from all around the country highlighting perspectives from people with disability” (Dec, ABC)

Women with disability already battle stereotypes. I can't afford to be an angry, brown woman, too. (Dec, ABC News)

Reflections between Australia and Indonesia on how #MeToo gave me a vocabulary to claim disability rights “my reaction to unsolicited help formed the crux of my dilemma. I felt torn between the need to keep myself safe, and the pressure to meet society’s expectations that I would welcome help.” (Sep, Unbias the News)

Forming body image as a blind person “When I was younger, I trusted other people's perceptions of my appearance more than my own.” (Aug, ABC News)

Special Issue on Writing Disability in Australia (May, Australian Literary Studies)

The Disability Pandemic:

”I lived in two worlds during COVID. One that suddenly got more open and inclusive, where I was asked to talk at events, on television, to Senate committees. I pasted lipstick on, and calmed my frizzy hair, adjusting a badly fitting shirt, so I could tell the world that disabled people needed help. Then I would scrub it all off, limp to the kitchen and face the anxiety swarm about there being no food.” (Meanjin)

Mental Health

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As Australia’s human rights record comes under scrutiny, here is a missing piece in mental health reforms. (Jan, Croakey Health Media)

People living inside our mental health system must not be left outside its reform. “For too long, people with lived experience of mental health have been excluded from policy discussions,” (Jan, Independent Australia)

More than 1,200 people are detained indefinitely with no criminal conviction. “People detained indefinitely without conviction are most commonly those who are found unfit to plead after being charged with a criminal offence, or who are found not guilty because of a mental impairment.” See more in how advocates have responded. (Aug, the Guardian)

Mental distress is much worse for people with disabilities, and many health professionals don't know how to help. “Someone may present to a disability-specific health service, and be turned away due to a co-occuring mental health difficulty. They might then present to a mental health service and be turned away due to having a disability.” (Aug, the Conversation)

Mobility, Travel, Transport and Tourism

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Australia misses 20-year public transport accessibility target as many train and tram networks fail people with disabilities. One source estimated “at best 50 per cent compliance to [accessible public transport] standards”. (Jan, ABC News)

Web Guide for Disability Access to Australian Beaches (Jun, Accessible Beaches)

‘We’re not a priority’: people with disabilities wait up to three hours for transport in regional Queensland. (Apr, the Guardian)

‘You can make money out of us’ the disabled people demanding more accessible travel and tourism (Dec, the Guardian)

Air Travel

Australia’s airlines and airports urged to improve treatment of travellers with disabilities. (Feb, the Guardian)

‘This was indignity’: passenger with disability left without wheelchair at Sydney airport. (Jul, the Guardian)

Policy and Rights

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Australia’s disability strategy 2021–2031 outcomes framework: first annual report (Feb, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare)

Politics and Elections

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Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights

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Resource will help reduce prejudice against parents with intellectual disability (Jun, University of Sydney)

We've Got This: Stories by Disabled Parents edited by Eliza Hull. (Mar, Black Inc Books)

Sport and Paralympics

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Paralympics Australia announces new plan for Para-sport to Brisbane 2032 and beyond. “Paralympics Australia (PA) has called out the inequity in funding and support for the Para-sport system” (Mar, ABC News)

‘It makes you think about things’: Australian Rules Football’s uncomfortable truth with brain trauma (Feb, Brisbane Times)

‘I am who I am’: how a blind Kurdish refugee became an Australian sporting superstar. (Nov, the Guardian)

Violence and Harassment

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Australia’s disability royal commission has faced near media silence – and left politicians unaccountable. (Dec, the Guardian)

‘They yell at you’: woman with dwarfism reveals ‘deeply offensive’ abuse received in public. (Oct, the Guardian)

‘Devastating’: woman with a disability met with disbelief after sexual assault, royal commission hears. (Mar, the Guardian)

Changing the landscape: a national resource to prevent violence against women and girls with disabilities (Feb, Our Watch)