National Disability Strategy

This banner shows the layout of the front cover of National Disability Strategy, as well as the Strategy’s six policy areas. They are inclusive and accessible communities; rights protection, justice and legislation; economic security; personal and community support; learning and skills; and health and wellbeing. To illustrate these policy areas there are four images of people with disability participating in community activities such as the interaction between a young man with a disability doing boxing training with his personal trainer, a little boy with a disability with his family in a playground, an older women with a disability using a computer, and a young man with a disability on a sail boat.

National Disability Strategy

The National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 provides a ten-year national policy framework for improving life for Australians 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. This new approach aims to address the challenges faced by people with disability, both now and into the future.

Importantly, action taken under the Strategy to improve the accessibility of mainstream services for people with disability will complement specialist disability services and programs currently provided by Commonwealth, state and territory governments, including those provided through the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Strategy was formally endorsed by COAG on 13 February 2011. The development of the Strategy was informed by a nation-wide public consultation process, involving more than 2,500 people and reported in Shut Out: The Experience of People with Disabilities and their Families in Australia.

The National Disability Strategy sets out six priority areas for action to improve the lives of people with disability, their families and carers. These 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.
  2. Rights protection, justice and legislation—statutory protections such as anti-discrimination measures, complaints mechanisms, advocacy, the electoral and justice systems.
  3. Economic security—jobs, business opportunities, financial independence, adequate income support for those not able to work, and housing.
  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.
  5. Learning and skills—early childhood education and care, schools, further education, vocational education; transitions from education to employment; life-long learning.
  6. Health and wellbeing—health services, health promotion and the interaction between health and disability systems; wellbeing and enjoyment of life.

The Strategy guides public policy across governments and aims to bring about change in all mainstream services and programs, as well as community infrastructure. It is the first time the Commonwealth, state and territory governments have agreed to such a wide ranging set of policy directions for disability.

Copies of the National Disability Strategy, together with a summary and fact sheet, are available at the below links:

The National Disability Strategy is also available on the COAG website.

A copy of the National Disability Strategy standard, Easy English, Braille, audio CD and summary documents may be requested by:

Implementation of the Strategy

In the first year of the Strategy, the focus was on building the foundations for implementation by engaging mainstream policy areas identified in the Strategy. Areas for future action were prioritised in collaboration with people with disability and other key stakeholders. The National Disability Strategy Report to the Council of Australian Governments 2012 was endorsed by the then Standing Council on Community and Disability Services on 24/12/2012.

National Disability Strategy Second Implementation Plan

The Strategy’s second implementation plan, Driving Action 2015-2018, outlines new priority actions and builds on ongoing commitments to improving outcomes for people with disability across the Strategy’s six policy outcome areas.  Additional areas of national cooperation include: NDIS transition to full scheme; improving employment outcomes for people with disability; improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability; and communication activities to promote the intent of the Strategy throughout the community.

On 2 September 2016, the Disability Reform Council reaffirmed its ongoing commitment to the National Disability Strategy.  The Council agreed to reinvigorate all governments’ efforts to drive progress under the National Disability Strategy, including through the second implementation plan.

The following plans will sit alongside, and work in conjunction with, the overarching second implementation plan:

  • the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020: Australian Government Action Plan (soon to be released)
  • the Australian Government Plan to Improve Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Disability (soon to be released)
  • state and territory disability plans
  • local government disability plans.

The Strategy’s second implementation plan was presented to COAG in November 2016. Progress made through Driving Action 2015-2018 will inform the development of a third and final implementation plan, Measuring Progress 2019-2020, which will identify new and emerging priority actions to be implemented in the final years of the Strategy.

Copies of Driving Action are available:

The Evidence base

The Evidence Base paper is a companion document to the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020. It contributes to the strong evidence base that has informed the Strategy, and draws on a wide range of statistical and information sources.

National Disability Strategy initiatives

In 2010-11, the Australian Government committed $11 million to an accessibility package of initiatives to support people with disability and their carers to participate in community life as part of the National Disability Strategy. While most initiatives have been completed, the Liveable Housing Design Initiative provides ongoing guidance for the residential design and construction industry.

More information visit:

National Disability Strategy progress reports

Every two years, a high level progress report will track achievements under the Strategy, using national trend indicator data based on the six outcome areas of the Strategy. The first of these progress reports was presented to COAG in December 2015.

The report provides an overview of the range of actions and activities undertaken across all levels of government that have advanced the objectives of the Strategy between 2011 and 2014. The report also includes analysis of draft trend indicator data.

Copies of the progress report are available:

Contact Us

You can contact us by:
Post: National Disability Strategy
GPO Box 9820
Canberra ACT 2601

Last updated: