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Australian and New Zealand Disability News

Disabled World: Revised/Updated: 2018/12/05

Synopsis: Health and disability news and information for the Australian and New Zealand region of the world.

Main Document

Disability News from Australia and New Zealand

There is a need for continued commitment at all levels of Government for the pursuit of full participation and equality for people with disabilities. Significant progress is being made to improve the quality of life and equity of access for Australian people with disabilities and Australia's developments may serve as a model to other countries in the sub-region.

Over the decade of Disabled Persons, in partnership with organizations of people with disabilities and other concerned agencies, the Australian governments at all levels (Federal, State and Local) have been involved in the development of policy, legislation and service provision.

Services and Programs

The Australian government provides a range of services and programs for people who are ill, injured or have a disability.

Centrelink services assist individuals looking for work and planning for their future.

The Australian Disability Support Pension is a payment for people whose physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment prevents them from working, or for people who are permanently blind.

Your illness, injury or disability must also attract an impairment rating of at least 20 points on the impairment tables. These impairment tables, contained in the Social Security Law, rate a person's impairment according to the severity of medical conditions and how they affect their ability to work.

Sydney Opera House, a famous Australian landmark - Photo by Keith Zhu on Unsplash.
Sydney Opera House, a famous Australian landmark - Photo by Keith Zhu on Unsplash.

You may receive a Disability Support Pension if you have an illness, injury or disability and you are:

  • Aged 16 or over and under Age Pension age or Permanently blind.
  • Assessed as not being able to work or be retrained for work of at least 15 hours per week within two years because of your illness, injury or disability.
  • Participating in the Supported Wage System (SWS).
  • In most cases you must have lived in Australia for a total of 10 years as an Australian resident, or your disability occurred while you were an Australian resident.
  • Disability Support Pension may be paid outside Australia for a certain period (in some cases indefinitely).
  • A medical examination may be needed to confirm how long people may be paid.
  • Disability support pensioners thinking about traveling outside Australia must contact Centrelink before leaving the country.
  • Disability Assistance in Australia - The Salvation Army provides support, and accommodation services for the disabled in many parts of Australia.

Disability in Australia

  • Around 778,000, or 1 in 5, Australians have a disability and are currently on disability pensions - the number is rising steadily.
  • Paying disability pensions costs the Australian commonwealth more than $11 billion a year, and that sum is expected to reach $13.2bn in the next two years.
  • In 2012 - 2013, an estimated 312,539 Australians accessed disability support services, according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
  • Between 300-400 new Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) injuries are reported each year in Australia.
  • It is estimated that around 10,000 people in Australia currently live with a spinal cord injury.
  • The aging of the Australian population and longevity are leading to increasing numbers of people with a disability with a severe or profound limitation (National Disability Strategy 2008).

Australian Disability Statistics.



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