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Legislation and legal rights

There are numerous legislation and initiatives internationally, nationally, state and departmentally aimed at ensuring that people with disability have access to equal participation in society as those without disability.


The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability External Link was adopted by the United Nations in 2006. The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disability, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.

The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) is the World Health Organisation's classification of health and health-related domains. These domains are classified from body, individual and societal perspectives by means of two lists: a list of body functions and structure, and a list of domains of activity and participation. Since an individual's functioning and disability occurs in a context, the ICF also includes a list of environmental factors.


The National Disability Strategy (2010-2020) External Link (NDS) outlines a 10-year national policy framework to guide government activity across six key outcome areas and to drive future reforms in mainstream and specialist disability service systems to improve outcomes for people with disability, their families and carers. It represents a commitment by all levels of government, industry and the community to a unified, national approach to policy and program development.

The NDS draws on the findings of extensive consultation reported in Shut Out: The Experience of People with Disabilities and their Families in Australia (2009). External Link

The Melbourne Declaration Adobe PDF document External Link (2008), a commitment made by all Australian Education Ministers in 2008, that states 'Australian governments must support all young Australians to achieve not only equality of opportunity but also more equitable outcomes'.

The Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) External Link is aimed at protecting and promoting the rights of people with disability to be treated as equals. The Department is required to adhere to the broad DDA definition of disability.
The objectives of the DDA are:

In August 2009, The Disability Discrimination and Other Human Rights Legislation Amendment Act 2009 External Link (the Act) came into effect. This Act amends the DDA and provides for a more consistent and coherent application of definitions.

Australian education expectations are stated in the Disability Standards for Education 2005 External Link (DSE), a national framework underpinned by the DDA. The DSE are subordinate legislation and a framework which clarifies the obligations of education and training service providers and the rights of people with disability under the DDA.

The DSE give students and prospective students with disability the right to education and training opportunities on the same basis as students without a disability. This includes the right to comparable access, services and facilities, and the right to participate in education and training without discrimination. Education providers have an obligation to make changes to reasonably accommodate the needs of students with disability.

Schools may be required to make reasonable adjustments to enable students with disability to access and participate in education on the same basis as their peers.


The Queensland Disability Services Act

The Education (General Provisions) Act, 2006 Adobe PDF document External Link sets out the entitlement of all Queensland children and young people to universal access to high quality state education that will help maximise his or her educational potential and enable him or her to become an informed effective member of his or her community.

The Queensland Disability Services Act 2006 External Link has measures to safeguard the rights and safety of people with disability, and combines with existing systems to improve the quality of services they receive.

The legislation encourages all Queenslanders to promote inclusive principles within their own communities. People with disability have the right to equal access to services available to other members of the Queensland community. The service delivery principles encourage service providers to consider the needs of people with disability when they design and deliver services.


The department's Disability Service Plan 2014-2016 supports the ambitious and challenging vision of a Queensland that is inclusive and enables people with a disability to lead valued and fulfilling lives.

It informs departmental staff and the general community about the actions the department is taking to respond to the needs of people with disability. These actions will complement and enhance the inclusive policies and practices developed over previous years.


For complaints about a Queensland state school, go to the Queensland Government External Link website.

If you believe your child is being discriminated against:

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This page was last reviewed on 01 Aug 2016 at 09:58AM


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