Disability and Carers

The Australian Government is committed to supporting all people with disability to thrive in diverse and inclusive communities.

The Department of Social Services (the department) supports the independence of, and economic participation by, people with disability and carers by providing targeted supports.

Supports are provided through a range of payments, programs and services, and grants and funding for organisations.

More information is available under publications and articles, standards and quality assurance, and related agencies and sites.

Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031

The Australian Government Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031 (ADS) was developed by all levels of government alongside people with disability, their families, carers and representatives.

ADS aims to drive change to uphold the rights, inclusion and participation of people with disability in all areas of Australian life.

ADS and supporting documents are available on Australia’s Disability Strategy Hub on the Disability Gateway. A range of documents are available as Easy Read, and community languages including Auslan.

National Autism Strategy

The Australian Government is developing a National Autism Strategy in close consultation with the Autism community.

The Strategy will be for all Autistic Australians. It will cover key reform areas including access to services, healthcare, education, and employment. It will help to guide a more coordinated, national approach supporting autistic people at each stage of life.

See our National Autism Strategy page for more information about the Strategy.

Disability Reforms

The Australian Government is working with states and territories and the disability community to prepare for reforms that address the findings in the:

People with disability will be at the centre of the disability reforms. This means the Australian Government will consider the views people with disability have about what changes are needed and how they should be implemented when planning the reforms and putting them into place.

Disability reforms require a national effort, with input from all Australian Government departments, state and territory governments, and engagement with the disability sector and community.

The Australian Government is committed to working collaboratively with states and territories and the disability community to progress the required reform.

Achieving a more inclusive Australia will take a coordinated effort from everyone. This includes creating more opportunities for people with disability and without disability to live, work and play together.

Disability Employment Reforms

As part of the 2024-25 Budget, the Australian Government announced a new specialist disability employment program will commence from 1 July 2025 helping more people with disability, injury and/or health condition to prepare for, find and maintain sustainable employment. It will replace the current Disability Employment Services (DES) program.

The new specialist disability employment program will improve the quality of services for both participants and employers and provide more flexible and tailored support focusing on individuals’ diverse pathways to find and retain employment.

The changes will improve access to the program which will be delivered by a diverse network of high-quality providers who can demonstrate they have staff and leadership that reflects the diversity of the communities they are working with.

The Government also announced the introduction of a Disability Employment Centre of Excellence which will develop best practice, evidence-based information to help providers deliver high-quality effective services to improve disability employment outcomes. The Centre of Excellence is expected to commence in March 2025, to support the introduction of the new specialist disability employment program from 1 July 2025.

See the new specialist disability employment program page for more information

Disability Royal Commission

The Disability Royal Commission looked at what needs to change to prevent violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability, and how to achieve a safe, inclusive and accessible society. The final report includes 12 volumes and 222 recommendations.

A Commonwealth Disability Royal Commission Taskforce has been established to coordinate the Australian Government’s response to the recommendations. Read more about the Commonwealth Disability Royal Commission Taskforce.

Public consultation was undertaken between 28 November and 19 January to better understand stakeholders’ responses and views on the recommendations. All responses have been analysed and consolidated into a summary report. An Easy Read version is also available.

In March 2024, the Australian Government released a Progress Update on how it is considering the Disability Royal Commission’s final report. A summary of the Progress Update is available in Easy Read, Auslan, Braille and large print.

Australian, state and territory Disability Ministers have also released a Joint Statement on the Disability Royal Commission.

NDIS Review

The NDIS Review consulted with the disability community over 12 months, engaging with around 10,000 people. After receiving almost 4,000 submissions, the report made 26 recommendations that aim to restore trust, confidence and pride in the NDIS.

The Australian Government publicly released the final report in December 2023.

Visit ndisreview.gov.au for more information about the Independent Review panel and how the NDIS Review was conducted.

See our NDIS reforms page for information about how the Australian Government is working with the disability community to reform the NDIS.

NDIS Review Town Halls

A series of NDIS Review Town Hall events across Australia offered the disability community the opportunity to learn more about the recommendations of the NDIS Review.

See our NDIS Review Town Halls page for information about these events, including event recordings, summaries and frequently asked questions.

‘Getting the NDIS Back on Track’ Bill

The Australian Government introduced changes to the NDIS Act on 27 March 2023 that will enable future improvements to the NDIS and strengthen the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

See our Changes to the NDIS Act page for more information.

Government responses to the Disability Royal Commission and the NDIS Review

The Australian Government is carefully considering the recommendations in the final reports of both the Disability Royal Commission and the NDIS Review before providing its responses.

Supporting carers

Almost 2.65 million Australians care for someone with disability, a medical condition, mental illness or someone who is frail due to age. The Australian Government helps carers remain engaged in the community, participate in the workforce and stay healthy while continuing their caring role through the provision of funding for a range of supports, services and financial assistance.

See our Supporting Carers page for more information on programs, services and payments.

COVID-19 Information and support for people with disability and carers

For information and support about COVID-19 please visit our information and support page.

Last updated: