Easy Read icon

Information for Supporters and Services

This page has information for governments, organisations, employers and businesses about making public spaces and events accessible for people with disability.

While women and girls with disability have the right to take part in all areas of public life, they have low levels of participation in work, education, politics and community initiatives.

Everyone has a role to play in improving the participation of women and girls with disability in all aspects of life.

Watch WWDA's video about the right to participation:

Tip: Click the subtitles button in the bottom right hand corner of the video to turn closed captions on and off.

Legal obligations for organisations

In 1992, the Federal Government of Australia introduced the Disability Discrimination Act (external link),

which makes it against the law for someone to be discriminated against based on their disability.

This Act requires businesses, employers and community organisations to do everything they can to make sure that any venues and services they offer to the public are accessible.

Many people only think of accessibility as providing a ramp or wheelchair accessible bathroom in a building. While physical accessibility is important, accessibility also includes a range of other considerations such as making sure information is accessible to people with vision impairment and low literacy and having positive discrimination policies for Boards and committees to make sure people with disability are included.

Tip: You can learn more about the Disability Discrimination Act on the Australian Human Rights Commission website (external link).


National Disability Standards

In Australia, the Disability Discrimination Act requires businesses, government organisations, schools and workplaces to follow three standards for accessibility. These are:

1. Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (external link)

2. Disability (Access to Premises - Buildings) Standards 2010 (external link)

3. Disability Standards for Education 2005 (external link).

These standards provide guidelines and outline the requirements for public transport, public buildings and education services to be:

  • free or at a low cost for those that need it
  • physically accessible for people who use wheelchairs or have other physical support needs
  • accessible for people with learning and psychosocial disabilities.
Tip: You can read and download the Disability Standards and Guidelines on the Australian Human Rights Commission website (external link).

Accessibility

Accessible information

If a business or service provides information to the public, it should ensure that information is accessible for people with different types of disability and different levels of literacy.

Tips for making sure information is accessible:

  • provide anti-discrimination and disability awareness training to staff. Always endeavour to ensure that training is provided by Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) or suitably experienced trainers who are persons with disability
  • provide written information in clear and concise language that is easy to understand and in a font size no smaller than 12 point
  • use a variety of ways to convey important information. For example, provide information in the form of a captioned video, as well as text
  • provide options for contacting staff in multiple ways. For example, in person, over the phone or by email
  • make sure that staff who are public facing are aware of, and know how to use the National Relay Service (NRS) (external link)
  • ensure that organisation websites meet the W3C Web accessibility standards (external link).
Tip: You can download our Written Information - Accessibility Checklist for more tips! 
Photo of a woman with a walking stick walking in a door.

Accessible buildings and venues

The Disability (Access to Premises - Buildings) Standards 2010 (external link) outline requirements for building or upgrading public premises to make them accessible for people with disability.

If you are involved in planning a new building or opening a business, you should ensure you meet the requirements of The Disability (Access to Premises -Buildings) Standards.

The requirements for existing buildings are not as strict. However, there are some things that should always be done to support accessibility for people with disability.

Tips for making sure your building is accessible:

  • do not lock accessible bathrooms or lifts while premises are in use by members of the public
  • make sure all lift buttons have Braille information next to them and that the lifts provide audible information telling users what floor they have arrived to
  • make sure lifts and sliding doors have motion detectors that ensure the doors automatically open and close only when they are clear of people
  • make sure that counter heights, lift buttons, EFTPOS facilities, door handles, and so on are within reach of a person using a wheelchair and/or a person of short stature
  • have clear signage for premises and any hazards that you cannot control (for example, construction in progress)
  • provide designated parking spaces for people with disability wherever possible
  • make sure that people using wheelchairs and/or mobility scooters can access the building.
Tip: You can learn more about how to make buildings and venues accessible on the Australian Network on Disability website (external link).

Accessible events

If you are organising an event, whether it’s a Board meeting, a conference, or a party, there are some easy things you can do to make sure it is accessible.

Tips for making sure your event is accessible:

  • hold the event at a venue that is physically accessible for people using wheelchairs and/or mobility aids, for those with assistance animals and for people with other types of impairments. Consider things like whether the venue has disability parking and accessible entrances
  • make sure the venue has accessible bathrooms that are free from clutter
  • hold the event in a quiet and private space. Organise a quiet break out room if the event is loud or has lots of people attending
  • hold the event at an appropriate time. For example, do not start the event in peak hour when traffic is very heavy, or very late at night when transport is limited
  • provide information about the event in an accessible electronic format, as well as in print
  • try to lower costs for attendees as much as possible. If it is a ticketed event, have a concession option
  • ensure that support persons and/or companions are welcome at the event.
Tip: You can download our Public Events - Accessibility Checklist for more tips.

Accessible boards and committees

If you run or are on a board or committee that makes decisions that affect people with disability in any way, it is important that you make sure the meetings are accessible.

The first step is to make sure people with disability are fully included. This can be done by adapting the positive discrimination standards that are often used to improve women’s participation on boards and use them for people with disability.

You could for example, have a quota that reflects the fact that almost 20% (17.8%) of women in Australia have some form of disability. [1]

This would mean that if your Board has 10 members, you would need at least two of the members of the board to have a disability, and at least one of these two should be a woman.

This is only useful, however, if the board meetings themselves are accessible and enable people with disability to take part.

Watch the Voice at the Table video 'Tips for Inclusive Meetings:'


Tips for making sure boards and meetings are accessible

  • have disability quotas for board members
  • provide anti-discrimination and board director training to all board members
  • send out agendas and papers before the meeting in an accessible digital format and provide them in hard copy to participants if required
  • ensure any support requirements of people with disability are met. This may include, for example: a support person, an interpreter, real time captioning, a note taker, or assistance from another board member
  • make sure everyone in the meeting has the opportunity to contribute. If someone is very quiet, encourage them to contribute their ideas or views.
Tip: People with different types of disability have different support requirements. You can find information about including people with intellectual disability on boards and committees on the Voice at the Table website (external link).

Work and education

Women with disability have the same right to education and work opportunities as any other person. In workplaces and educational institutions, employers and educators are required to offer students and employees with disability any support they may need to take part. These are called reasonable accommodations. The supports someone needs will depend on their disability, but may include:

  • flexible work hours to go to appointments or look after family
  • assistive technology devices like screen readers, dictation systems, hearing aids
  • extra time to read information
  • movable desks and ergonomic chairs
  • an on the job support worker.
Tip: You can learn more about reasonable accommodations on the Australian Human Rights Commission website (external link).


Unjustifiable hardship

Organisations and businesses are exempt from making accommodations if doing so would cause unjustifiable hardship. If this is the case, the organisation must prove that the adjustment would be too costly, difficult, time consuming, or cause hardship in some other way.

In determining whether accommodations will create unjustifiable hardship, the following factors should be discussed with all parties:

  • how much the adjustment will cost
  • whether financial assistance is available
  • the potential benefit of the adjustment to the person with disability
  • any potential detriment of the adjustment to the business or community.

Footnotes

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics (2019) Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2018 (external link).

Important Resources

Guides
Guidelines: Equivalent Access under the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Cth)
These guidelines have been developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to assist organisations and governments to comply with the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Publications
WWDA Position Statement 3: The Right to Participation
Information from WWDA on the right of all women and girls with disability to take part in all areas of life.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Australian Human Rights Commission: Disability Standards
Information on the Disability Standards in Australia.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
Australian Human Rights Commission: Good Practice, Good Business Fact Sheets
Factsheets to help employers and businesses support people with disability.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
Australian Human Rights Commission - Equal Before the Law: Towards Disability Justice
A guide about improving the treatment of people with disability in Australia.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
Australian Human Rights Commission Guidelines: Special Measures Under the Sex Discrimination Act
A guideline about implementing the Sex Discrimination Act to support the rights of women.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Fair Work: Employee Entitlements
A website listing rules about what employees are entitled to at work, such as how many hours they work and how often they have a break.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Australian Human Rights Commission: Ending Workplace Sexual Harassment
A resource for small, medium and large employers about stopping sexual harassment.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Fair Work: National Employment Standards (NES)
The National Employment Standards (NES) are 10 minimum employment entitlements that have to be provided to all employees.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Australian Human Rights Commission: Access for all: Improving Accessibility for Consumers with Disability
Practical tips for businesses and organisations on improving access to goods, services, facilities, premises and information for people with disability.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Centre for Applied Disability Research: Research to Action Guides
A Research to Action Guide to help people providing support to people with disability to give the best possible care, supported by science.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Centre for Applied Disability Research: Disability Knowledge Clearing House
This website exists to help supporters of people with disability to understand what works, for whom, under what circumstances, and at what cost.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training
A website with information, advice and resources for students with disability, their teachers, support workers and families.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Australian Network on Disability: Event Accessibility Checklist
This web page provides an overview of considerations that should be made to ensure inclusion of people with disability.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Checklist
Our Site Accessibility Checklist: Public Events
This checklist has been adapted from one produced by Equal Access Australia to help individuals and organisations make sure their events are accessible.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
Feminist Organising Toolkit: Planning Virtual Meetings
This toolkit was produced by Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) to support women to organise online groups, meetings, protests and more.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Checklist
Our Site Accessibility Checklist: Written Information
A checklist to help individuals and organisations make sure that any public information they provide is accessible.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Government Employer Toolkit
Government portal of information for employers of people with disability.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
Co-Design Guide
Co-design guide for organisations working with people with disability.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Guidelines for Providing Rights-Based Services to Address Gender-Based Violence and Sexual Health and Rights for Women and Young Persons with Disabilities
A guide about providing rights based services to address gender-based violence and the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and young persons with disabilities.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
NDIS Provider Toolkit
Information for registered National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) service providers.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Centre for Accessibility
The Centre for Accessibility website has information about how to make information accessibility.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
W3W Web Accessibility Initiatve (WAI): Introduction to Web Accessibility
A website with information and standards about website accessibility.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Australian Human Rights Commission: Disability Discrimination Act videos
Short films about people with disability in Australia.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) General Comment 2: Accessibility
United Nations document on accessibility for people with disability.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
Employees Who Use Violence: A Workplace Response
A toolkit to assist employers and organisations to respond to violence within the workplace.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Checklist
Internet Society: Checklist for Accessible Online Meetings
Information and a checklist to help you make sure your virtual meetings are accessible for people with disability.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video

Where to next:

External website
Australian Human Rights Commission: National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination Against Australians with Disability (2016)
A website on the 'Willing to Work' Report with summaries and fact sheets.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Association for Children with Disability: Information and Resources
Resources for families of children with disability.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Equal Access: Disability Access Consultants
A website with advice on how to make buildings and public spaces accessible for people with disability.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Australian Government: Students with Disability
Information for students with disability, as well as education providers.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Plain English Campaign: How to write in Plain English
Guide to writing in a way that is easy for people to understand.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA)
WWDA website where you can find a range of government submissions, reports and publications about women and girls with disability.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
Information about the NDIS for eligible people with disability as well as their supporters and services.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Australian Network on Disability
A national membership based organisation that supports organisations to advance the inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of business.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
National Relay Service
Phone support for people who are for people who are deaf, hard of hearing and/or have a speech impairment.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Voice at the Table
A website that provides information about boards and director training for people with cognitive and intellectual disability.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Disability Leadership Institute (DLI)
A professional hub that offers coaching, training and leadership opportunities to people with disability. These all have a cost.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN)
The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is Australia’s peak communications consumer organisation representing individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit groups as consumers of communications products and services.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Disability Awareness
Introduction to Disability Awareness is a free online course that focuses on promoting an awareness of disability and the impact that societal attitudes and inherent stigma and discrimination have on the lives of people with disability.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Easy Read icon