Preliminary response to the Disability Royal Commission Recommendations 

As well as this preliminary response, we have also created
- A Position Statement on Inclusive Education endorsed by systemic and representative disability organisations in NSW
- The Better Together, Inclusion for All Campaign, which aims to ensure people with disability have access to inclusive education, employment, housing and community so we can create a more inclusive society.

The Disability Royal Commission's final report and recommendations are finally with us, after four and half long years. Copies of the report can be downloaded, including an Easy Read version here.
The report makes 222 recommendations on how to improve laws, policies, structures and practices to ensure a more inclusive and just society that supports the independence of people with disability and their right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. The recommendations are grouped into 9 themes including inclusive education, employment and housing; independent oversight and complaint mechanisms; human rights; enabling autonomy and access; First Nations.

Most of the Commission’s 222 recommendations are encouraging to read and represent a meaningful step towards a more just and equitable society for all. Whilst some need improvement, most are sound and Family Advocacy will be strongly advocating for their funding and implementation.

We are disappointed that on some key points, the Commissioners failed to agree resulting in several split recommendations, such as in education. This lack of consensus on the best way forward risks potentially slowing the momentum for transformational change.

Commissioner Rhonda Galbally has called on governments to give significant weight to the views of the 3 Commissioners with lived experience of disability. Family Advocacy supports this position.

Family Advocacy calls for the timely implementation of the Royal Commission's recommendations in consultation with people with disability and their families, advocates and representative organisations.

The Commissioners acknowledged the tremendous efforts and courage of people with disability and families in sharing their stories, strongly highlighting inequities across many systems. We would like to personally thank everyone who has contributed to Family Advocacy’s work in this space.

Family Advocacy is digesting the 222 recommendations and focused on those that have a direct impact on people with a developmental disability and their family in the areas which align with our strategic plan. This response provides a top-level analysis of key recommendations and how Family Advocacy considers people with developmental disability may benefit should the recommendations be implemented.

We have consciously decided not to comment on the NDIS related recommendations given the NDIS Review is due very soon.


  • Recommendation 7.13 National Roadmap to Inclusive Education.
  • Recommendation 7.14 Phasing out and ending special/ segregated education

Education is the starting point for an inclusive society. We support Recommendations 7.1-7.14 which aim to overcome the barriers to inclusive education through legislative and policy change, improved procedures and support services, and transform culture, policy and practice on the ground. These can all be encapsulated within the National Roadmap to Inclusive Education.

In summary, they recommend to establish inclusive education units to provide advice and resources; improve workforce capabilities, improve data collection and reporting, improve research, improve complaints management, improve funding, develop governance mechanisms, oversight and monitoring mechanisms; strengthen enforcement of practices of inclusive education by expanding school registration requirements.

We fully support the end goal to phase out segregation. The Recommendation is:

  • 2025 No new builds
  • 2032 No new enrolments
  • 2041 No new placements
  • 2051 SSPs close

We do not believe the goal to do so by 2051 is ambitious enough. This is not the first time Education has come under govt review/inquiry at NSW and Federal level. So its not the first time govts have had these recommendations put before them. We recommend the 10 year ACIE Roadmap.

Note: Kurt Fearnley interview with ABC - The education system is failing students with disability. This is an opportunity for our country to be better. Every teacher should consider themselves a special ed teacher. Every person will benefit, 30 years is extraordinarily long time.

As part of our work to progress inclusive education and to end segregation of people with disability in Australia, once and for all, we have shared a media release informed by this report, "Disability Royal Commission Final Report: Inclusive education for students with disabilities must involve a responsible transition and the phasing out of segregation".


  • Recommendation 7.19 Establish specific disability employment targets for new public service hires in agencies and departments.
  • Recommendation 7.21 Develop an Australian Public Service-wide adjustment passport to improve the ease with which people with disability can maintain and transfer their adjustments when moving within the Australian Public Service.
  • Recommendation 7.16 Priorities for inclusion in the new Disability Employment Services model.

The Australian Government Department of Social Services should ensure that the design of the new Disability Employment Services model:

  • is developed using inclusive design principles, and co-designed by people with disability who are employed as paid members of the design team
  • adopts customised employment models as a core component of service provision

An inclusive workplace is one that actively recruits, welcomes, trains, supports, promotes and remunerates people with disabilities. An inclusive workplace is one that provides meaningful work for employees with disabilities within a regular setting.

Family Advocacy wants to see an end to ADEs, fairly paid work for people with disability no less than the minimum wage and with opportunities for career progression.
Therefore, we welcome the target to ensure at least 7% of new public hires are people with disability by 2023 and 9% by 2030. We welcome the suggestion to create a sub-target for people with intellectual disability.


  • Recommendation 7.42 Improve access to alternative housing options.

We support allowing greater flexibility and choice in housing through changing the NDIS funding model to ensure admin and pricing mechanisms do not default to group home living over alternative models of independent living. This will give greater choice and control and independence in choosing a home, and who to live with. There is also a recommended development of advice, support and advocacy to ensure people with disability understand and explore housing options.

Independent oversight and complaint handling

  • Recommendation 7.10 Complaint management.

Family Advocacy has long advocated for independent, robust oversight and complaint mechanisms in all settings. Accordingly, we fully support all of the recommendations 11.1-11.18.

In addition, in relation to education specifically, we strongly support this recommendation to create complaint management at arms length from schools. For too long, schools have policed themselves to the detriment of the student with disability and their family member.

Restrictive Practices

  • Recommendation 6.36 Immediate action to provide that certain restrictive practices must not be used.

Family Advocacy have a clear position on restrictive practices and the use of seclusion. We view the use of restrictive practices as a breach of the right to liberty, bodily integrity, and freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (not consistent with Article 15 of the UNCRPD). We strongly reject the use of restrictive practices and seclusion in any setting.


  • Recommendation 6.21 Additional funding for advocacy programs

To promote and defend the rights and interests of people with disability, at an individual and systemic level, disability advocacy organisations require long term funding as this improves efficiency, staff retention, and builds trust.

Next Steps

Family Advocacy will be utilising the recommendations, along with our strategic plan, to help set the course of our work, both in the short term and over the coming years. WE will continue to advocate with, for and on behalf of people with developmental disability. To honour and respect the time and courage of the people who came forward to the Disability Royal Commission, we strongly encourage the federal and NSW governments to implement the recommendations as a matter of urgency. In this vein, we look forward to working with the federal and NSW governments to do so, alongside people with disability.

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