PWDA calls for action to embed rights and end segregation of people with disability

People with Disability Australia

People with Disability Australia (PWDA), the national cross-disability peak body and representative organisation, has reissued its call for governments to prioritise and fund action plans that support the transition away from segregated housing, employment, and education; eliminate restrictive practices; and embed and protect disability rights in domestic law. The call follows today’s release of the Public consultation on the Disability Royal Commission Summary report by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

PWDA President Marayke Jonkers has expressed caution regarding the Summary report’s use as a guidepost for government action.

“We welcome the Summary report’s broad recognition of the need to co-design responses to the Disability Royal Commission with people with disability and their representative organisations. That means prioritising the voices and perspectives of people with disability and actively involving them as leaders in shaping the policies and practices that affect their lives.

“The consultation summarised in this report did not reach all people with disability, and its views are not representative. If acted upon without reference to the views our community submitted to the Royal Commission, it could impact the effectiveness of government responses and the pathway to full inclusion.”

“For government responses to be effective, they must commit to ending the segregation of people with disability. Across our whole lives we are too often separated from the community – where we live, work and learn. More inclusion isn’t enough – full inclusion and compliance with the UN CRPD is the only acceptable goal,” Ms Jonkers said

PWDA’s formal response to the Disability Royal Commission represents the views and perspectives of its members, who are people with disability. PWDA CEO Sebastian Zagarella has emphasised the organisation’s formal response as a stronger guidepost for government action.

“PWDA’s formal response was built on the voices of our members who are people with disability. We have called for a firm commitment to full inclusion and accessibility. This requires dedicated action plans and adequate funding, especially for the co-design that is necessary if these plans are to be successful and reflect the diverse and intersecting needs of our community,” said Mr Zagarella.

PWDA will continue advocating for a coordinated approach between Commonwealth and state and territory governments to the 19 policy position statements contained in their formal response, including:

Governance and Rights Protections: PWDA supports the enactment of a Disability Rights Act followed by a Human Rights Act, both developed in close consultation with people with disability, to embed the rights of people with disability in domestic law.

Housing: PWDA calls for an end to segregated housing and increased investment in options, and access to independent Supported Decision Making to explore those options, that promote independent living in the community.

Education and Employment: PWDA urges an end to segregation in education and employment, along with immediate action to support inclusive education and the transition to open employment.

Safeguarding and Redress: PWDA emphasises the need for a nationally consistent supported decision-making framework and nationally consistent Community Visitors Schemes, the elimination of restrictive practices, and the establishment of a national redress scheme for people with disability who have experienced violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

PWDA’s formal response to the Disability Royal Commission Final Report is available at

About us:


People with Disability Australia Incorporated (PWDA) is a national disability rights and advocacy, non-profit, non-government organisation. We have a cross-disability focus, representing the interests of people with all kinds of disability and our membership is made up of people with disability and organisations mainly constituted by people with disability.

/Public Release.