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Disability Royal Commission Progress Update

Jess pulls out the highlights from the recently released Progress Update on the government’s response to the Disability Royal Commission.

By Jessica Quilty

Updated 12 Apr 202415 Mar 2024
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The Australian government has delayed its formal response to the Disability Royal Commission (DRC) to mid-2024. Instead it has released a "Progress Update'". So, what does the Progress Update tell us?

DRC Taskforce

The Government has established a Commonwealth DRC Taskforce within the Department of Social Services (DSS) to consult with the disability sector and coordinate the Commonwealth, state and territory governments response. Commonwealth ministers and their departments are responsible for considering recommendations within their area and the Taskforce brings agencies together to facilitate a more integrated approach. The Taskforce is made up of around 15 people, led by a Group Manager, reporting to the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Amanda Rishworth MP. It’s expected to operate until around 30 June 2025.


The Government says the delay in response will ensure there is appropriate time to continue consultation that will drive meaningful and lasting change. It says this consultation stage is not about repeating the work of the DRC, rather it wants to better understand people’s views on the DRC’s specific recommendations. It is engaging through a combination of high-level roundtables, forums, workshops, and individual meetings and the recent public questionnaire and submission process.

What’s the Government heard so far?

  • The Australian community overwhelmingly welcomes the DRC’s Final Report and the vision for an inclusive society.
  • Stakeholders want strategic reform to better protect the rights of people with disability, but they also want timely, tangible action.
  • Some stakeholders support the DRC’s proposed standalone Disability Rights Act, others favour a broader Human Rights Act that would protect the rights of all Australians, including people with disability.
  • Concerns were raised about areas the DRC did not make sufficient recommendations on including; transport and air travel, the Disability Support Pension, young children, child protection, forced contraception, menstrual suppression, removal of children from parents with disability, and psychosocial disability.

Building on existing reform

The third part of the Progress Update is dedicated to showcasing the various initiatives that the Government already has in place (not necessarily in direct response to the DRC). These relate to human rights, safeguarding, inclusive education, employment, and housing and improving the accessibility of disability and mainstream services. The update refers to Australia’s Disability Strategy (ADS) and the first ADS Implementation Report published in December 2023.

There is a section titled “Getting the NDIS back on track” - Progress said to be made includes the NDIS Review and funding the response, cracking down on fraud and price differentiation, improved hospital discharge and reducing the AAT backlog. The report notes that the Government will release a formal response to the NDIS Review in 2024.

That’s about all the gems we could find, you can read the full Progress Report and associated media release online. Minister Rishworth will also be checking in to provide us with an update at our upcoming conference. And of course, we will be back with more analysis in mid 2024 when the formal response is handed down.


Jessica Quilty

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