Know your Legal Rights: The Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and other legislation

Which laws help you get access to what you need.

The Disability Discrimination Act (1992) (and other legislation)

Know your legal rights:  Which laws help you get access to what you need *


Knowing the laws that relate to people with disability can help you have your rights upheld.

Be aware of these, and use them (or just mention them) if you need to!  It is hard to read through pages and pages of legal speak; but just keep these in mind.  Understanding the principles and intention of these laws, can help you when applying for opportunities and advocating for your rights.


The Disability Discrimination Act (1992)

No one can discriminate against a person, or their companion / support / carer, based on the person’s disability. The law is to protect people with disability against discrimination, and is breached when a person with disability is treated less fairly than people without disability.  This applies to employment, education, accessing public places, provision of goods, services and facilities, accommodation, buying land, activities of clubs and associations, sport, administration of government laws and programs.

The Carers Recognition Act (2004)

A carer (unpaid) of a person with a disability, any health or disability service must listen to your needs and take them into account when planning and providing services to the person you are supporting / caring for. This may include your child, your brother/sister, or even a sick friend or elderly parent. Carers must be treated with respect and their role in caring for and/or supporting a person with disability or illness should be recognised.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Act 2013

The NDIS scheme outlines these first five principles:

(1)  People with disability have the same right as other members of Australian society to realise their potential for physical, social, emotional and intellectual development.

(2)  People with disability should be supported to participate in and contribute to social and economic life to the extent of their ability.

(3)  People with disability and their families and carers should have certainty that people with disability will receive the care and support they need over their lifetime.

(4)  People with disability should be supported to exercise choice, including in relation to taking reasonable risks, in the pursuit of their goals and the planning and delivery of their supports.

(5)  People with disability should be supported to receive reasonable and necessary supports, including early intervention supports.

The Disability Standards for Education (2005)

This law is made to protect the students with disabilities from discrimination. The standards cover the following areas of accessing education:

  • enrolment;
  • participation;
  • curriculum development, accreditation and delivery;
  • student support services; and
  • elimination of harassment and victimisation.

It then sets out standards of practice to ensure fair access to participation of students in pre-primary, primary, secondary, and post-school education and training. It also explains “reasonable adjustments” which are part of the requirements which educational settings may need to make in order to facilitate access to education for people of all abilities.

Remember, it’s the law!

* Disclaimer:  All details provided are for general information only.  They should not be taken as professional legal advice from DDWA or any of its employees.   However, all reasonable care has been taken in preparing and providing this information.