Disability Inclusion Action Plan

Inner West Council's Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2023-2026 outlines the steps Council will take over the next three years to support and improve the inclusion of people with a disability as part of its core business, and to remove barriers to access and participation, including any discrimination based on disability.

The Action Plan gives expression to Council's commitment to uphold and promote the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, and the NSW Disability Inclusion Act 2014.

Understanding "disability" and inclusion

The contemporary understanding of "disability" is based upon the "social model of disability", which underpins the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the NSW Disability Inclusion Act 2014. Broadly, this regards disability as not residing in the individual or as an inherent characteristic of a person, but rather as a restriction caused through society's lack of accommodation in addressing that person's needs and rights such that they can participate on an equal basis with others.

Australia does not have a nationally accepted definition of "disability" or a method of categorising the severity of different types of disabilities that people experience. Disability is a complex, dynamic, multi-layered and evolving concept. It is often used as an umbrella term to describe the interaction between impairment or health condition and the participation restrictions experienced by a person (with impairment) resulting from other (external) environmental, contextual, attitudinal and social factors.

One thing is clear: disability is a normal part of the human condition, and everyone will experience it temporarily or permanently at some point in their lives. It is common in all human societies, and as people age the likelihood of an individual or their family member experiencing disability increases.

Definition of disability

The definition of disability applied in this document includes both definitions provided by the NSW Disability Inclusion Act 2014 and the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA).

The NSW Disability Inclusion Act 2014 defines disability as including a "long-term physical, psychiatric, intellectual or sensory impairment that, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder the person's full and effective participation in the community on an equal basis with others."

The DDA defines disability as:

  • The total or partial loss of the person's body or mental functions
  • The total or partial loss of a part of the body
  • The presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness
  • The presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness
  • The malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person's body
  • A disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction

The DDA covers a person who has, has had, may have, or is presumed to have or believed to have a disability (as defined above) in the future. The DDA also considers the person's need of an assistive device, aid or support (due to a disability) to enable them to function independently.

Definition of inclusion

Inclusion happens when every person who wishes to (irrespective of age, disability, gender, religion, sexual preference or cultural heritage) can access and participate fully in all aspects of an activity or service in the same way as any other member of the community.

According to the research report "Towards new indicators of disadvantage: Deprivation and social exclusion in Australia" published by UNSW's Social Policy Research Centre, dimensions of inclusion include:

  • being heard and valued
  • meaningful participation
  • connection and belonging
  • opportunity to access supports
  • choice and control in your life

Inclusion is not about helping others to access the society we have. It's about changing the society we have. Inclusion is about making society mean everyone.

The key objectives of the Inclusion Action Plan are to:

  • Assist Council to realise a vision of the inner west for people experiencing or living with a disability
  • Create an accessible and inclusive community that provides the same range of opportunities to all
  • Promote and uphold the human rights of people with disability
  • Facilitate the exercise of those rights
  • Promote the independence and social and economic inclusion of people with disability
  • Assist Council to meet its obligations under the NSW Disability Inclusion Act 2014 and thereby the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)
  • Articulate all the above into strategies and actions that will inform Council practice and be delivered through Council's Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework

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Page last updated: 18 Jan 2024