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Disability Rights

What are disability rights?

Disability rights can include access to:

  • living an ordinary life in our community
  • buildings, roads, transport and public facilities like schools, housing, hospitals, clinics and workplaces
  • information, communications and other services
  • electronic services like the Internet
  • emergency services
  • public services such as education and healthcare
  • public institutions such as the justice system and courts and other public activities such as voting and advocacy
  • employment
  • an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, clothing and housing
  • in-home, residential and other community support services
  • mobility aids, assistive devices and technologies designed for people with disabilities.
  • the capacity to make decisions or legal rights and recognition before the law.

In essence, a person with a disability has the right to be treated fairly and to receive the same opportunities and access as everyone within our society.

The Australian National Standards for Disability Services

What is discrimination?

Discrimination is treating a person, or group of people, less favourably on the basis of an attribute that the person, or group of people, has. The attribute might be the person’s intellectual or physical disability or their race or their gender.

In Australia, the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) makes it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their disability. The Australian Human Rights Commission has responsibility to ensure this Act is adhered to.

What is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)?

Australia is a party to seven core international human rights treaties. The rights of people with disability are contained in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) recognises the barriers that people with a disability may face in realising their rights. The rights under all human rights treaties apply to everyone, including people with disability. However, the CRPD applies human rights specifically to the context of people with disability.

Disability rights links

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities -

Australian Human Rights Commission -

Disability Discrimination Act 1992 -

Australian Attorney Generals Department – Has a number of fact sheets relating to disability rights.

The Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDSR) is a specialist legal advocacy service for people with intellectual disability in NSW -

Public Interest Advocacy Centre -

Human Rights for People with a Disability -

Specific legal and advocacy links

Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW)

Supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with legal services. Contact 02 8303 6600  Email:  Website:

Community Legal Centres (NSW)

The office is able to assist those seeking legal advice by referrals to an appropriate legal service provider.

LawAccess (NSW)

LawAccess NSW is a free government telephone service that provides legal information, referrals and in some cases, advice for people who have a legal problem in NSW

Services provided: legal information over the telephone, written information, referrals to other legal or related services that may be able to help, for example, to get face-to-face legal advice; in some cases, arrange for one of Law Access Lawyers to provide telephone legal advice Contact 1300 888 529

Legal Aid Youth Hotline 1800 101810 (freecall) (NSW)

The Legal aid Youth Hotline is a legal advice line administered by Legal Aid NSW.  Staffed by qualified and experienced criminal lawyers with expertise in the Young Offenders Act, Legal Aid Youth Hotline provides advice to young people who have committed, or are suspected of committing, a criminal offence.

Legal Aid (NSW)

Legal Aid NSW provides legal services to disadvantaged clients across NSW in most areas of criminal, family and civil law.

Legal Aid (WA)

Staffs provide a state-wide free information, advice and advocacy service to people who have been discriminated against due to their disability. For more information, contact the Disability Discrimination Unit on (08) 6253 9500 or (08) 9470 2831 (for TTY)

Federation of Community Legal Centres (Victoria) Inc

The Federation is the peak body for 51 Victorian community legal centres (CLCs) that provide free legal services to the public. We help clients who face economic and social disadvantage.

Villamanta (Victoria)

A Victorian Community Legal Centre that works only on disability related legal issues

South Australia Council of Community Legal Services 

A South Australian state-wide service providing free legal advice, advocacy and assistance to people who have been, or may be discriminated against because of a disability.

Legal Aid (Queensland)

Contact 1300 65 11 88. Limited assistance is available for people with disability.

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated

An independent, community-based systems and legal advocacy organisation for people with disability in Queensland

People with Disabilities (WA) Inc (Western Australia)

As a consumer-managed organisation People With Disabilities (WA) Inc - PWD (WA) - represents and advocates for the rights and equity of all Western Australians with a disability - physical, intellectual, psychiatric and sensory. Ph: (08) 9386 6477 Freecall: 1800 193 331
TTY: (08) 9386 6451

Hobart Community Legal Service (HCLS) (Tasmania)

HCLS is a community organisation whose aims are, to foster community awareness of the law, to make the law more equitable and accessible to the public, and to provide free legal advice and referral to the general public in southern Tasmania. Ph: 03 62232500 

Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania

The Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania seeks to increase access to legal and social justice for all Tasmanian's by the provision of representation, advice and education on legal issues in an effective, efficient and economic manner. We are committed to providing Tasmanian's with equal access to justice through state-wide programs of advice, representation, community education and Primary Dispute Resolution conferences. Ph: 03 6236 3800
Ph: 1300 366 611 (Telephone Advice Line)

Disability Discrimination Legal Service (ACT)

The Disability Discrimination Legal Service, run by the Welfare Rights & Legal Centre (WRLC), provides free legal service and appointments for people who have been discriminated against based on their disability. Ph: 02 6247 2018

Legal Aid Commission (ACT)

The Legal Aid Commission of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) aims is to work to inform people of their legal rights and obligations and to improve their access to the justice system. Provides a range of services including: minor advice and assistance; duty lawyer services; legal representation; community legal education.Ph: 1300 654 314 (Telephone Advice and Information Line) Email:

Welfare Rights and Legal Centre (ACT)

An independent not-for-profit, non-government community legal centre dedicated to providing free legal advice and representation to individuals and community groups on; tenancy, public housing, social security and disability discrimination law.

Darwin Community Legal Service (DCLS) (Northern Territory)

Darwin Community Legal Service is one of five community legal centres in the Northern Territory. DCLS is a non-government organisation which is managed by volunteers from in and around Darwin. DCLS provides a range of free services, including: Information and Referral; Volunteer Legal Advice Sessions; Aged and Disability Rights; Welfare Rights; Community Education and Publications; Law Reform and Policy.

Ph: 08 8982 1111 or Freecall 1800 812 953  TTY: 08 8982 1177  Email: