The first comprehensive report of its kind by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has shared the diverse experiences of the 4.3 million Australians living with disability.
The report, People with disability in Australia, covers multiple topics. including education, health, social support and employment.
A spokesperson for AIHW, Louise York, says the report helps understand how different the experiences of people with disability are.
“It can also help with the planning and provision of supports and services that enable people with disability to participate fully in everyday life,” she explains.
Among the findings:
1 in 5 people are estimated to have a disability
51 percent of older people aged over 65 years old have a disability
95 percent of people with disability live at home or in the community
1 in 11 people with disability aged over 15 years old experienced discrimination in the last year
59 per cent of people receive income support as their main source of income
48 percent of people with disability aged between 15 and 64 years old are employed, compared to 79 percent without disability
32 percent of adults with disability experience high or very high psychological stress, compared to 8 percent without disability
59 percent of people with disability living in households need help with at least one daily living activity
47 percent of adults with disability have experienced violence after turning 15 years old
It also revealed 42 percent of complaints received by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is about disability discrimination, representing the largest area of discrimination reported to the Commission.
“People who have experienced disability discrimination are more likely to report poor health, be unemployed and have a lower level of income,” Ms York says.
Ms York also notes people with disability have varied needs for mainstream and specialist disability services.
“A relatively small proportion of this group will participate in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or receive the Disability Support Pension, but all will come into contact with mainstream services,” she explains.
“A key gap is information about what services people with disability use, across mainstream and specialist areas, and how coordinated, timely and effective they are.”
Chief Executive Officer of People with Disability Australia, Jeff Smith, says the report mirrors findings of their recent survey of nearly 900 people with disability.
“This report echoes what we know, that people with disability in Australia aren’t getting a fair go at work, in health or in access to mainstream services,” Mr Smith explains.
“The shocking statistics on violence show why the upcoming Disability Royal Commission is so important and will be a chance to have a national conversation about how to improve the lives of people with disability.
“Many people with disability find huge barriers to getting work, and that for many of us poverty and the lack of services has a significant impact on our wellbeing.
“More work needs to be done, via the National Disability Strategy, to make mainstream services accessible, particularly given that the majority of people with disability will not have access to the NDIS.”
To read the full AIHW report, click here.