Skip to main content

Hearing to examine operation of the NDIS for First Nations people in remote communities

In a five day hearing commencing on Monday 11 July, the Disability Royal Commission will examine the operation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in remote and very remote communities.

Public hearing 25 will explore key barriers to accessing the NDIS and disability services faced by First Nations people with disability in remote and very remote communities and consider whether those barriers cause or contribute to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of First Nations people with disability.

The Royal Commission will hear from 13 lived experience witnesses living in (or from) west Arnhem Land, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs, Fitzroy Crossing and Thursday Island.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey has identified 66,000 First Nations people with ‘profound or severe’ disability, 13% of whom reside in remote or very remote locations.[1] 

In Public hearing 4, Dr Scott Avery gave evidence about his 2018 research report, Culture is Inclusion: A narrative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability. That report, led by the First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN), found that:

Disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is twice as prevalent, more complex in terms of co-occurring disabilities, and compressed within a shorter life expectancy compared to other Australians.[2]

Representatives from the FPDN, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council and Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre will give evidence at Public hearing 25. Representatives from the National Disability Insurance Agency will also give evidence.

Public hearing 25 builds upon the Royal Commission’s ongoing work relating to the experiences First Nations people with disability, including Public hearing 8 and Public hearing 16.

The hearing will be held in person at the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Convention Centre and is open to the general public and media to attend. It will be live streamed on the Royal Commission website. A smoking ceremony will be conducted as well as a Welcome to Country at the beginning of the hearing.

The Chair of the Royal Commission, the Hon Ronald Sackville AO QC, will preside over the hearing in Alice Springs and will be joined by Commissioners Ms Andrea Mason OAM and Mr Alastair McEwin AM.

Journalists wishing to cover the hearing should notify the Disability Royal Commission media team to ensure access to the media room and/or relevant information including schedules and live transcripts.

Please direct all inquiries to the Disability Royal Commission media team on 0436 841 166 or via our email


[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, 2018-19, 11 December 2019.