The Disability Royal Commission signifies an unprecedented period of disability reform in Australia.

In a series of blog posts, Kiind Systemic Advocacy Lead, Renée Darbyshir, will be delving into the depths of the Disability Royal Commission’s Final Report and what it means for families raising children with disability.

On Friday, 15 September 2023, I was privileged to be in Sydney for the Final Ceremonial Hearing of the Disability Royal Commission. Sitting in a roomful of passionate self-advocates and advocacy organisations, I was tearful as I listened, wishing the rest of Australia could witness the human rights violations that many families living with disability know all too well. I wanted everyone to see our strength, our power, and our amazing community.


“Commissioners, you heard many, many people with disability who spoke about the importance of recognising and protecting their human rights in everyday lives and their activities. Their calls for better protection of their human rights were loud and clear. When people with disability say, ‘nothing about us without us’, they are right to ask Australia to listen and respond.”

Commissioner Galbally, Final Ceremonial Hearing of the Disability Royal Commission, September 15 2023.


Watch Mr Andy Jackson, a person with disability and recipient of the 2022 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Poetry, read a poem called Listen that he wrote for the Disability Royal Commission’s final ceremonial sitting.


What’s in the Report?

The Final Report of the Disability Royal Commission – all 12 volumes of it – is now available, and it lists 222 recommendations for improvement across multiple domains and systems.

The Disability Royal Commission (DRC) took a human rights approach, based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UN CRPD).

Some key recommendations from the final report include:

  • Enshrining UN CRPD with a Disability Rights Act (DRA)
  • Strengthening the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) with increased obligations of public authorities to comply
  • Formation of a National Disability Commission and Minister for Disability Inclusion
  • A new National Disability Agreement (NDA) with new governance arrangements and improved intergovernmental collaboration
  • Enabling autonomy and access through supported decision-making and systemic advocacy
  • Establishing a Provider of last resort scheme with state governments – improving the disability landscape for people living regionally or who have complex support needs
  • Inclusive education, employment and housing, with calls to end segregation within 30 years
  • Workforce development, capability and expertise for inclusive education
  • Improving inclusive education through better communication and partnership with students and parents, more adjustments and supports in education, and less exclusionary discipline
  • Integrating NDIS supports with education
  • Improving police and justice responses to disability – screening, treatment, and diversion
  • Cultural safety for First Nations – culturally appropriate assessments for families and children, co-design and consultations with First nations communities, remote workforce development
  • Improved support coordination and advocacy – quality, independence, and availability
  • Better safeguarding measures for children and adults with disability, such as improved complaints mechanisms, disability worker registration and screening, and provider audits
  • Improved disability data collection – a nationally consistent approach and national data set.

Inclusion as a human right


“As a Commissioner, I have learned that keeping people with disabilities segregated with their own kind has proven to be a very difficult ship to turn around. I have been told that mainstream systems and settings are not inclusive and continue to reject children and adults with disabilities.”

Commissioner Galbally, Final Ceremonial Hearing of the Disability Royal Commission, September 15 2023.


Fifty years ago, the Australian Disability Rights movement fought to establish human rights for people with disabilities to be fully included in the community. At that time, advocacy groups fought hard for the closing down of large residential institutions, sheltered employment workshops, and segregated schools that kept people with disability hidden away and separated from mainstream society and community. The movement was successful in the push for integration and inclusion of people with disability in mainstream settings across the lifespan.

But fifty years on, the Disability Royal Commission has learned that while these large institutions have mostly been phased out, there is continuing exclusion, marginalisation and neglect of people with disability in both segregated and mainstream settings across the community – in health, housing, employment, and, significantly, in education. These findings will come as no surprise to many of our members, who are still advocating on a daily basis for their children’s rights to be included and to have their needs met in the systems they navigate.


“I have learned that attitudes change when people with every kind and severity of disability are visible, present, and meaningfully participating with non-disabled children and adults on a day-to-day basis in every setting in the community, starting with the earliest years.” 

Commissioner Galbally, Final Ceremonial Hearing of the Disability Royal Commission, September 15 2023.


Keep reading

In Renée’s next blog post, she discusses what the Final Report of the Disability Royal Commission means for inclusive education. Click here to read it.

If you would like to find out more about Kiind’s systemic advocacy, including opportunities to contribute, click here or contact