Ageing, Disability & Home Care

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Disability Inclusion Act

The International Day of People with Disability, 3 December 2014, marked the commencement of the visionary Disability Inclusion Act 2014 (NSW) (the Act or the DIA).

The Act has two broad aims. The first aim is to set out how FACS will provide disability supports and services up until the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been rolled out across the whole of NSW by mid-2018.  The second aim is to make sure that after moving to the NDIS, NSW continues to be a place where people with disability have access to mainstream services and are part of their community.

The Disability Inclusion Regulation 2014 (the Regulation) supports the Act and provides the necessary detail for the Act to work properly.

The Act and the Regulation can be viewed on the NSW legislation website.

The Act:

  • makes it clear that people with disability have the same human rights as other people
  • promotes the inclusion of people with disability by requiring government departments and local councils to engage in disability inclusion action planning
  • supports people with disability to exercise choice and control through individualised funding wherever possible
  • provides safeguards for people accessing NSW funded disability supports and services, including new employment screening requirements and the need for disability accommodation providers to report abuse or neglect of people with disability to the Ombudsman.  Funded providers of centre-based day programs are also required to report incidents to the Ombudsman in relation to people with disability living in supported group accommodation.

The Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) is committed to working together with other government departments and local government to dismantle existing barriers so that people with disability can participate fully in their communities, to the advantage of everyone.

The Act reflects that people with disability should be at the centre of decisions and prepares the way for the NDIS, while introducing additional safeguards to operate across NSW in the interim.

Why did the law need to change?

For 21 years the Disability Services Act 1993 was the main legal foundation in NSW for providing supports and services to people with disability. When it was made, the Disability Services Act 1993 set out a progressive, rights-based approach to supporting people with disability. However there have been major developments in the past decade, including the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. These developments have led to significant changes in disability policy, including a greater emphasis on:

  • recognising the right of people with disability to be in control of their lives and to make or be involved in key decisions
  • respecting the independence of people with disability
  • ensuring people with disability can participate fully in the community.

In 2012 FACS commenced a review of NSW disability law to reflect these changes. This review involved extensive consultation with people with disability, their families and carers, and key disability stakeholders including advocacy bodies and disability service providers. The new Act and Regulation has taken into account the contributions of over 600 different individuals and organisations.  Read more about the process of developing the new Disability Inclusion laws.

"The many improvements have culminated in the new Act, which recognises that people with disability have the same rights as others. That’s a real change in attitude. The legislation gives us a vision of a civilised community with inclusive neighbourhoods but also a framework for removing barriers affecting people in everyday life". Unis Goh, Disability Council Member, PSM (Public Sector Medal)

DIA for people with disability 

Find out more about the positive changes for people with disability, their families and carers that will result from the new Act.

DIA for service providers 

While the NSW Disability Services Standards will continue to apply under the new Act, there are some changes affecting service providers. Visit this page to find out more about those changes.

More information

A set of five fact sheets has been developed to help you understand the Act:

Note on Auslan versions: The Disability Inclusion Act 2014 and Disability Inclusion Regulation 2014 commenced on 3 December 2014, International Day of People with Disability. The Regulation provides more detail on how the Act will work. A number of these details were not included in the original Auslan videos because the Regulation had not been passed at that time. Updated information is provided with each video.

  1. DIA fact sheet 1 - overview of the Act (December 2014) (PDF)
    Easy Read version (PDF)
    Community languages
    Auslan version
  2. DIA fact sheet 2 - disability planning (December 2014) (PDF)
    Easy Read version (PDF)
    Community languages 
    Auslan version

  3. DIA fact sheet 3 - supports, services and funding (December 2014) (PDF)
    Easy Read version (PDF)
    Community languages
    Auslan version

  4. DIA fact sheet 4 - employment screening (December 2014) (PDF)
    Easy Read version (PDF)
    Community languages
    Auslan version

  5. DIA fact sheet 5 - reporting abuse and neglect (March 2016) (PDF)
    Easy Read version (PDF)
    Community languages
    Auslan version

For more information about the Disability Inclusion Act 2014, please email or call 1800 446 470.

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