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Final Report - Executive Summary, Our vision for an Inclusive Australia and Recommendations

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Executive Summary

Chair’s foreword

Our vision for an inclusive Australia


The Disability Royal Commission’s Final report tells the Australian Government what changes need to be made to prevent violence against, and abuse, neglect and exploitation of, people with disability.

We recommend change so people with disability can enjoy all human rights and freedoms fully and equally.

Our Final report has 12 volumes.

This video is a summary of the Chair’s foreword and our vision for an inclusive Australia. This vision is based on the dreams and aspirations that people with disability, their families and others shared with us.

Chair’s foreword

The Honourable Ronald Sackville, AO KC

Our Final report marks the culmination of many years of advocacy by people with disability and their representative organisations. It also marks the beginning of a new stage in the reform process.

Advocacy by people with disability and disability organisations will play an important role in ensuring our recommendations are accepted and implemented.

Our Final report contains 222 recommendations.

This reflects the many settings and contexts in which violence against, abuse, neglect and exploitation of, people with disability take place.

We have identified many policy issues that must be addressed by governments, institutions and the community.

We have been committed to using a human rights approach to inform our work. The human rights of people with disability underpin many of our recommendations.

In our Final report, we have given particular attention to the multilayered experiences of:

  • First Nations people with disability

  • culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability

  • women and girls with disability.

People with disability have been at the heart of our inquiry. We are very grateful to each and every person who has shared with us their experiences, aspirations and ideas.

Responsibility for reforms is shared by the entire Australian community. Transformational reforms cannot occur without fundamental changes in community attitudes towards people with disability.

Visions for the future

The visions of an inclusive Australia that people shared with us were diverse. But there were a number of key themes.

An inclusive Australia is one where people with disability are safe and their human rights are respected.

Dr Samarra Toby and her husband Massey Ruatara told us about their vision for their son Arty, a young First Nations person who lives with cognitive disability.

They said, ‘Our vision for him and for, you know, all the other little kids like him is to basically be able to be safe and creative and happy.’

Margherita Coppolino is a woman of short stature, a lesbian, a first generation Australian, an advocate and disability and inclusion consultant.

She said inclusion occurs when ‘the differences of our bodies and minds is understood, embraced and accommodated and celebrated as being completely normal and as part of the human condition.’

An inclusive Australia is one where disability is treated as part of human diversity.

An important element of inclusion is to live, work, play, create and engage in inclusive communities.

 ‘Isabel’ has an intellectual disability and feels frustrated when others express low expectations about her ability to contribute to the community.

Her parents told us they hope for a future where she is ‘known and belongs’ in the community and has ‘all the typical life experiences as that of her peers or siblings.’

Another key theme – about people with disability having the support they need to exercise choice and maximise their independence – was raised by Ms Sherrie Beaver from Expression Australia. 

Sherrie believes an inclusive Australia is one in which Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, including those who identify as LGBTIQA+, have access to the same information at the same time.

Accessible information empowers Deaf and hard-of-hearing people to make informed choices.

An overarching theme is that an inclusive Australia is one where people with disability know that they belong and are respected, valued and able to contribute.

People with disability can feel isolated and excluded when they are not represented appropriately in the media.

Ms Chloe Hayden is autistic and a disability advocate, motivational speaker, actor, performer, author, influencer and content creator.

She would like to see people with disability in all aspects of society. This includes roles within film and television where disability is not the central part of a character.

Cultural safety is a key theme for the development of an inclusive Australia. It is especially important for First Nations people with disability. 

Dr Scott Avery is profoundly deaf and an Aboriginal scholar from the Worimi people.

He talked about the whole-of-life view of disability held by First Nations communities.

This view incorporates family, community and connectedness through culture. He describes this as a ‘culture of inclusion’.

Promoting a more inclusive society

These are many aspects to creating an inclusive society. Key aspects include:

  • Promoting disability leadership

  • ‘Nothing about us without us’ was a consistent theme in our public hearings.

  • Governments, disability service providers, businesses and community organisations often ignore the expertise of people with disability.

  • We heard that it is critical to empower people with disability to take up leadership positions, especially in disability services; placing decision-making in the hands of people most affected by the decision.

Addressing ableism

Ableism describes attitudes that motivate harmful or discriminatory behaviour towards people with disability.

Ableism classes people as different; less than or inferior to people without disability; incapable of exercising choice and control; and a burden on society.

Ableism is a fundamental driver of violence against, and abuse, neglect and exploitation of, people with disability. Australia must change negative attitudes towards disability.

Reducing and ending segregation

We understand segregation as the situation where people with disability are compelled to live, learn, work and socialise in isolation from their non-disabled peers and the community.

In general, people agree that segregation is unacceptable and must stop.

However, some people have different views on the meaning of segregation, and disagree about whether separation based on disability always amounts to exclusion. Some of our Commissioners hold different views.

Other elements to an inclusive Australia include:

  • promoting pride, belonging and connection

  • promoting co-design and co-production

  • working together towards inclusion.

More information

For more information about our Final report, and to access all volumes, visit our website. Go to the ‘Publications’ section and click on ‘Final report’.

Return to all volumes of the Final Report