42 disability rights and advocacy organisations call for an end to the segregation of disabled people in Australia

Black and white text reads: "#EndSegregation. eople with disability are not second class citizens. www.dpoa.org.au/endsegregation". Text is over a green background with a white section in the middle that looks like it was torn out.

People with disability and our rights and advocacy organisations are fighting to end the segregation of people with disability in Australian education, housing and workplaces.

We urge the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (Disability Royal Commission) to recognise that segregation of people with disabilities is discrimination and a breach of our human rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (which Australia has signed).

The everyday reality for many people with disability is one of inequality and discrimination. Many of us are separated from the rest of the community by law, policy and practice frameworks that enable ‘special’ segregated arrangements.

This is particularly the case for people with intellectual, cognitive or psychosocial disability, neurodivergent peoples, people with multiple impairments, and others who are warehoused in segregated settings and environments due to a lack of adequate services and supports. 

In our education system, children and young people with disability are not always welcome at their local school with their non-disabled peers, and are unable to access the supports and adjustments for an equitable education. For many, this is the start of a pipeline to segregated environments later in life, including exploitative workplaces where people with disabilities can be legally employed at a fraction of the minimum wage.

Many people with disability remain in congregated living situations like group homes or hostels, where housing and support services are managed by the same organisation (imagine your landlord also employs the person who helps you shower, and decides where you go for recreation, and what you eat for lunch).

This can lead to very dangerous situations if someone is experiencing violence, abuse or neglect in their home, making it very difficult for a person with disability to complain or change providers without putting their housing at risk. People with disability are still dramatically over-represented in homeless populations.

Segregated systems are often justified by low expectations of people with disability and ableist ideas about what is ‘in our best interests’, but it’s important to remember that there are well-established funding arrangements and vested interests in disability, education, mental health, aged care and other service systems, and to ask who is really benefiting from the perpetuation of these systems.

The Disability Royal Commission has been tasked with making recommendations to prevent the violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of disabled people. They are committed to doing this within a rights-based framework, but we have yet to see any real indication that they consider the segregation of disabled people to be a breach of our human rights.

It is essential that, consistent with Australia’s international human rights obligations, concerted action to end the segregation of people with disability is incorporated within all critical disability reform processes. 

We fought long and hard for a Disability Royal Commission, and now we need them to take this opportunity to push for real change.

You can read the full position paper here:

Do you endorse this position paper?

If you would like to help us end the segregation of people with disability in Australia, you can publicly endorse this paper by adding your details below (your email will be kept private, but all other details/comments may be made public on this website, or published in materials associated with the #EndSegregation campaign, at our discretion).
  • Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png, pdf, Max. file size: 64 MB.

This position paper is endorsed by:

Logos for: Children and Young People with Disability Australia,
Women with Disabilities Australia,
National Ethnic Disability Alliance,
First Peoples Disability Network Australia,
Inclusion Australia,
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations,
Disability Advocacy Network Australia,
People with Disability Australia,
ACT Council of Social Services,
Advocacy Law Alliance,
All Means All,
Australian Centre for Disability Law,
Australian Coalition for Inclusive Education,
Belonging Matters Inc.,
Developmental Disability WA,
Disability Advocacy and Complaints Service of South Australia,
Disability Advocacy Service Inc.,
Disability Advocacy Victoria Inc.,
Disability Discrimination Legal Service Inc.,
Disability Justice Australia,
Down Syndrome Australia,
Family Advocacy,
Gippsland Disability Advocacy,
Imagine More,
Independent Advocacy South Australia,
Leadership Plus,
Mackay Advocacy Inc.,
Melbourne East Disability Advocacy
People with Disabilities WA,
Physical Disability Council of NSW,
Queensland Advocacy Incorporated,
Queensland Collective for Inclusive Education,
Regional Disability Advocacy Service,
Rights In Action,
Rights Information and Advocacy Centre,
Self Advocacy Sydney Inc.,
South Australian Council of Social Services,
Speak Out Advocacy,
Speaking Up For You,
Spinal Cord Injuries Australia,
The Advocacy and Support Centre,
Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service Inc., AMIDA, ACT Council of Social Services, VMIAC, Star Victoria, Australian Disability, AED Legal Centre, Self Advocacy Resource Unit (SARU), Women with Disabilities ACT, DRC Advocacy, Include, Down Syndrome Queensland, Advocacy for Inclusion, Physical Disability Australia,  Valued Lives Foundation, Australian Inclusion Group, Multicultural Disability Advocacy Australia, Mornington Peninsula Human Rights Group and Community Resource Unit Ltd..
Logos for The DLD Project, Advocacy WA, Advocacy for Disability Access and Inclusion, Citizen Advocacy, and Irasi.
Sarah WilliamsGlenys MannSheryl Hausfeld
Alex McFaddenJane MatthewsKaterina Perivolaris
Natalie CorriganRebecca HollandWendy Kiefel
Sandra FarrugiaFelicity StrideMeritta Dalla-Vecchia
Bevan NobleDarryl SteffSimone Stuart
Treena JacksonKerri CassidyMarilyn Phillips
Jenny PriceKathryn HoubenLise Mogensen
Tina KitromilidesLisa KellyLinda Wiseham
Kay MurphyDebie GreenClaire Spivakovsky
Fabio FabboMichelle SwanChereen Wilson
Tom PulleyDanielle LawlessAndrea Wildin
Yvonne MunceLaura ScurrCatherine Jones
Nadia OlicMegan SmithMary Naim
Debra CurdNorelle KasbergerErosha Bakmiwewa
Karen RapleySam PanettaKathryn Harris
Shelley ClarkeSue CasserlyKylie Scutt
Jim SharrockAmanda WallaceMonica Kelly
Sue-Ellen HasslerKylie PfennigSarah-Jane Markwell
Silva OsakiSarah WhitfieldBen Feenan
Suzanne CouttsLinda SteeleCatherine Morris
Margaret HethertonAngela BoydPhillip Camela
Judy DoddDavid LaczkoMaggie Toko
Sam CostandiDivina TaschkeAna Pike
Dianne WardChristopher MarcusJohn Giovanni
Kirsten Baird-BateAnnette OsullivanChristine Leahy
Todd CrandellSandi SeymourAngela Owen
Jillian GreySusan HawkeswoodJulie Dempsey
Louise BannermanJulie WebsterChris Maylea
Shane CrozierKim ParslowLouisa-Jill Fowler
Richard OrrCatelyn PryorShona Edwards
Frances RohrlachCarrie SyerPam Athiende
Hannah SolomonsBelinda KingJane Charlyon
John KennyTrish CollinsMaureen Gray
Melinda RippeNiki RoseBen Goodall
Bronia HolyoakDanny HuiSusan Hoffmann
David BrownCam TregaskisSimon Katterl
Amanda EismanGeorgie OsborneKatie Scott
Carole RobinsonJenny MaskellLinda Hughes
Declan Cass-HunterKali Samuels-ConnellTeresa Micallef
Jackie BarryMadeleine NicholasRobyn Culver
Caroline EllisonMeaghan PeckDionne Honeychurch
Jesper HansenPaula ThomasMaria Malaquias
Lyn ThorntonPaulina BezzinaTrevor Carroll
Simon BurchillKim Fairbairn bakerJulie Guilfoile
Rebecca CobbLouise RogersKeryn Clark
Rebecca WilliamsKathryn WhetterHailey Hutchinson Turner
Henri LingKate SadlerDianne Samuels
NicolasLalwerWilliam McIntoshAmelia Allan
Vee WilsonJo HealyGerard Langridge
Roslyn FosterCarly StewartBonnie Olyslagers
Andrew BoermaHarry ChenTherese Sands
Emma RamsaySarah ChenSue Burns
Taylor RyanKatie RogersMelissa Miers
Dean DadsonLeah NixonAinsley Robertson
Kat ReedHelen KayKatie Evans
Steve JohnsJane ConcepcionAmelia Edwards
Emma Richmond-DarvillGeorgina TurnerSandi Oh
Emma GrangerCatherine LouiseJackie Softly
Noel P MullerJean ElliottLoren Swancutt
Shane CameronLizzie ThompsonJoanne Lynam
Thea SummervilleDia AndrewsLisa Stafford
Jenny BarlowTrenton HoareSasha Cotis
Vicki BellDr Robert JacksonCaroline Bayer
Patricia HoffmannJaxson ChapmanMardi Malone
Sacha Corlett – AndersonGarrie IronsJane Wardlaw
Maddox Corlett – AndersonYasmin ChapmanAlison Fredericks
Erin EllisonLeonie WalshJill Jeremy
Mariann Lloyd-SmithKarleah ChapmanMichelle French
Karin SchneiderSue CochraneAlycia Marchant
Graham BanksEmilie CameronCatia Malaquias
Chloe PolglazeYolande CaillyKylie Ford
Sarah WeinstockBernadette NixonErica Schurmann
Karen WallaceGemma NameyLeah Penny
Juanita VernonEllen JahkeVicki Lowbridge
Luce MorleyHilary BurkinGiancarlo de Vera
Anderson ChristiePaddyRyanCynthia Clarke
Jane ScottJessica CrouchMeaghan Vosz
Zoe KalenderidisRebecca QuigleyJonathan Shar
Jenny DugganMargaret HomsyKate Palmer
Meryl McDougallMichelle RoweJane Wardlaw
Rosalie StevensRebecca KellyGlenda Maher
Glenda LeeEllen VernonSandra Chapman
Janeene BeeforthProfessor Linda GrahamSiyat Abdi
Linda SaloJacki RigneyGina Wilson-Burns
Skye ShannonJulianne RyanMichelle Robins
Kristen DesmondGreta RyanDeb Haller
Fiona GivenCliff StephensTrudy Joyce
Bruce CollinsKirsty WilsonBernadette  Cheesman
Raquel PearceMonique RyanSue Tape
Tanya RogersLouise KirkBec McCormick
Elizabeth DawudLaura OrregoEmma Kenton
Jessica KainJulie PittleMargaret Rodgers
Chris VincentSarah CasaneanuTracey McVicar
Siobhan ClairLynda HendersonEmmy Elbaum
Naomi ChaineyBree Hickson-JamiesonPeter Osenaris
Evelyn ScottDenise SmallMary Naim
Janet WestJason ConcepcionElizabeth Kendall
Anjana AlvaresZoe MatthewsonJoseph Naimo
Felicia AndersonCheryl SagarKaren Smith
Hazel LloydAndrea JohnsonLeanne Snep
Alexa McLaughlinGail JeltesAllison Halliday
Alexandra HudsonAnnette SLaurel Hansen
Mia KennedyLucy ClearyGraham Smith
Serap FilizElisabeth AllenShane McDougall
Jill FrancisAmy PalkBrent Rogers
Jackie GikovskiTanya RogersLouise Kirk
Bec McCormickElizabeth DawudLaura Orrego
Emma KentonAnjana AlvaresZoe Matthewson
Jenny HughesBernadette MacriElise Bulir
Natalie TurnerTania McInnesNancye McDonald
Monica Boerma