News & Media

Australians with disability don’t feel included in their community

21 October 2020

A survey of 600 Australians with disability and their carers has found half don’t feel included in their community.

Girl and boy walk down street, laughing and eating hot chips.

The research – commissioned by not-for-profit Latrobe Community Health Service (LCHS) – reveals it’s the most basic things that remain the biggest barriers for Australians living with disability.

LCHS has published a discussion paper, describing the firsthand experiences of Australians living with disability based on the survey findings.

Download the full report: Improving accessibility and inclusivity of people with disability in a community and mainstream setting.

The paper explains despite decades of campaigns, government policy change and nation-wide reform such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the inaccessibility of our public places and poor community attitudes continue to prevent people with disability from living the life they want to.

“We hear from people with disability every day as part of our role delivering the NDIS in Sydney, Melbourne and throughout regional Victoria,” LCHS Executive Director NDIS Services Vince Massaro said.

“We know they want – and deserve – the same opportunities as everyone else, but the way our towns are built and the attitudes of the broader community remain significant barriers for people with disability. It falls on all of us to redouble our efforts.”

Improving accessibility and inclusivity of people with disability in a community and mainstream setting aims to place the diverse needs of people with disability at the forefront. It focuses on four key areas – physical access, community attitudes, information and sensory-friendly experiences – and outlines practical steps all organisations can take to truly improve the experience for people with disability.

“Too often our towns, business offerings and activities are designed without considering the practical needs of people with disability. Too often solutions are implemented without actually asking people with disability what matters to them,” Mr Massaro said.

“This paper acts as a practical guide for governments, small business owners and community groups who want to better include people with disability through simple, achievable changes,” he said.

“Changing the layout of your shop floor, introducing sensory-friendly hours or experiences, or updating your business information so people with disability know whether participation is a real option – these aren’t ground-breaking solutions, and there are actions all of us can take to be more inclusive and accessible.”

Improving accessibility and inclusivity of people with disability in a community and mainstream setting is based on the voices of 600 Australians living with a physical, sensory, psychiatric, neurological, cognitive and / or intellectual disability, and their carers. One in five survey respondents also have a chronic medical condition in addition to their disability.

Download the full report: Improving accessibility and inclusivity of people with disability in a community and mainstream setting.

Request a presentation from Latrobe Community Health Service.