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About disability laws in Australia
Australia's disability laws protect your child's rights and ensure that you and your child get the support and services you need.
You don't need to be a legal expert when you have a child with disability, but it does help to have a general understanding of disability law.
Australian Government disability laws
Disability Discrimination Act 1992
This Act upholds and protects the equality of people with disability. It makes discrimination against adults or children with disability unlawful in certain situations, particularly in employment and education.
Disability Services Act 1986
This Act is a detailed guide to the funding and provision of Australian Government support services for people with disability. Under this Act, the Australian Government is largely responsible for employment services. The states and territories focus on accommodation and other support services.
Social Security Act 1991
This Act lists the conditions for getting a wide variety of social security payments, including the following:
- Disability Support Pension (DSP): this is a payment for people who are permanently blind or whose physical, intellectual or psychiatric disabilities stop them from working. The DSP can be paid only to people over 16 years of age.
- Sickness Allowance: this is a short-term payment in the form of income support to people who can't work temporarily because of a medical condition. It can be paid only to people over 21 years of age.
- Child Disability Assistance Payment: this is an annual payment to help parents with the costs of caring for a child with disability. It's paid to parents who already get a Carer Allowance.
If eligible, people with disability might also be able to get pharmaceutical and other medical benefits, like a Health Care Card.
National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013
This Act sets up the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The NDIS is a national scheme that funds reasonable and necessary support to help people with disability reach goals throughout life. It also supports carers of people with disability.
The Australian government has signed the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. This means all Australian national and state and territory laws maintain these rights.
State and territory disability laws
State and territories also have disability laws. Many of these laws outline state and territory responsibilities for services:
- Australian Capital Territory: Disability Services Act 1991
- New South Wales: Disability Inclusion Act 2014
- Northern Territory: Disability Services Act 2012
- Queensland: Disability Services Act 2006
- South Australia: Disability Services Act 1993
- Tasmania: Disability Services Act 2011
- Victoria: Disability Services Act 2006
- Western Australia: Disability Services Act 1993.