Outcome 1: Rights and choices are protected and respected

What success looks like

“I feel safe, I know my rights, and I know how to exercise them if needed.”

“There are people who advocate for me and for other people with disability, and I can turn to them if I need to.”

– Consultation participants

Why this is important

Human rights are an important part of everyday life; going to school, seeing a doctor and getting a job are all basic human rights.

People with disability want greater public awareness of the rights and needs of people with disability.

As people with disability experience greater challenges to their rights than their peers without a disability, more work needs to be done to ensure the rights of people with disability are exercised and protected.

People with disability face barriers to participating fairly in the justice system, and are especially overrepresented in the criminal justice system.7

Courts, corrections and the judiciary all have a role in:

  • ensuring that people with disability understand and can exercise their rights
  • building their own disability confidence and awareness
  • promoting accessibility for people with disability.

Aboriginal Australians with disability are almost twice as likely to experience discrimination as non-Aboriginal people with disability.8

There is also an overrepresentation of Aboriginal adults and young people with disability in the justice system and 95% of Aboriginal Australians charged with criminal offences who appear before courts have an intellectual disability, a cognitive impairment or a mental illness.9

Advocacy is:

  • an essential part of promoting, protecting, and supporting a person’s human rights
  • a fundamental part of the strategy that cuts across all areas.

A strong disability advocacy sector is a powerful tool for people with disability to address this inequity and have a voice.10

Advocacy extends to those who support people with disability.

It is particularly important that people with disability are supported to advocate for their own rights.

Access to reasonable and necessary supports funded by the NDIS is a right for eligible people with disability.

Supporting eligible Territorians to access the scheme will maximise the local benefits of the NDIS.

Our priorities and the action plan

Each outcome has a set of priorities for the life of the strategy.

Under each priority is an action plan.

Read more about the action plan.

People with disability (including young people) understand their rights and are aware of the supports available to help them exercise their rights.

This includes increased awareness by others of the rights of people with disability.

1.1.1 Strengthen the design of all government service systems and the supports they provide for people with disability at risk of harm1

Identify systems to monitor the ongoing interactions of people with disability and existing government agencies, including data from interactions with the NDIS Worker Screening, youth justice system, corrections system, legal advocacy system and domestic violence services.

Improve interagency sharing of information to support the ‘no wrong door’ approach to the government service system.

Lead: Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

Timing: From 2022

1.1.2 Build public confidence in pathways for complaints and redress

Develop and disseminate materials to increase awareness of the options available to people with disability and their carers if they have a complaint or dispute, and to build confidence to pursue those options, such as through the:

  • Health and Community Services Complaints Commission
  • NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
  • Anti-Discrimination Commission or
  • NT Consumer Affairs for goods and services.

Lead: Department of the Attorney-General and Justice

Timing: Ongoing

1.1.3 Deliver the Community Visitor Program

Deliver the Community Visitor Program for people with disability from all diverse communities to:

  • build awareness and education of rights
  • deliver complaint or quality processes to prevent abuse and neglect.

Lead: Anti-Discrimination Commission

Timing: Ongoing

1.1.4 Review guardianship arrangements

Review all guardianship orders involving the Public Guardian to ensure the human rights of represented persons are being upheld.

Lead: Office of the Public Guardian

Timing: By 2025

Review existing practices to:

  • ensure culturally safe services for Aboriginal Territorians
  • undertake a pilot guardianship project with the Northern Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA).

Lead: Office of the Public Guardian

Timing: By 2024

1.1.5 Update the Disability Services Act 19931

Review and update the Disability Services Act 1993 to reflect the transition to the NDIS and changes to disability services.

The review of the Act will consider:

  • the responsibility for the administration and provision of specialist disability services to the Commonwealth, including NDIS maximisation in the Northern Territory
  • obligations under the UNCRPD
  • obligations under Australia’s Disability Strategy
  • alignment with the NT Disability Strategy
  • reviews of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act and the Disability Discrimination Act.

Lead: Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities and Department of Health

Timing: By 2023

1.1.6 Right to stay on country

Continue to promote that a person with disability has:

  • the right to remain on country in: Anmatjere, Atitjere, Engawala, Lajamanu, Nyirripi, Willowra and Yuelamu
  • access to meals, transport, personal care, domestic assistance, centred based respite and social support.

Lead: Central Desert Regional Council

Timing: Ongoing

Families and carers have the tools and resources they need to help people in their lives with disability to exercise their rights.

1.2.1 Support a disability network

Support a disability network which can share information, tools and resources with each other and with people with disability.

Lead: Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

Timing: From 2022

Formal disability advocacy services are supported and there is greater promotion of the services that already exist.

1.3.1 Implement a trial for a student advocacy service

Trial and develop student advocacy services to assist families navigating the system or resolve issues between students, families and education providers.1

Lead: Department of Education

Timing: From 2022

Develop and provide informative resources and support materials targeted to children, young people and families to assist them in making informed decisions about their child’s/children’s education.1

Lead: Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

Timing: 2022

Establish a youth sector peak body that will also advocate on behalf of young people with disability.

Lead: Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

Timing: 2022

1.3.2 Review and build capacity of formal advocacy services for young people

Conduct an evaluation of the trial and a review of potential NT advocacy providers to expand the service, aligned to the Department of Education’s Framework for Inclusion.

Lead: Department of Education

Timing: By 2025

1.3.3 Continue to support advocacy

Continue to support advocacy, led by people with disability or persons with lived experience across the NT, by prioritising funding to identify and represent the views of people with disability, whilst contributing to policy analysis and sector development.

Lead: Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

Timing: Ongoing

1.3.4 Establish an Aboriginal disability peak for the Northern Territory

Establish an Aboriginal disability peak body for the NT as part of NT Closing the Gap Implementation Plan.

Lead: Department of the Chief Minister and Cabinet

Timing: By 2025

Institutional stakeholders in the justice and corrections systems understand and respond to the issues faced by people with disability and legislation and policy protects the rights of people with disability.

1.4.1 Provide appropriate aids and equipment

Support people in custody to access appropriate aids and equipment for the purpose of improving functions regardless of the activity they are undertaking.

Lead: Department of the Attorney-General; Justice and Department of Health

Timing: Ongoing

1.4.2 Accessibility audits for correctional facilities

Audit correctional facilities for accessibility within the framework of the secure environment.

Lead: Department of the Attorney-General and Justice

Timing: By 2025

1.4.3 Specialised accommodation and activity support within prisons

Support the needs of prisoners with disability by establishing specialised accommodation areas within the correctional centres and providing access to functional aids and equipment where necessary.

Lead: Department of the Attorney-General and Justice

Timing: From 2022

1.4.4 Increase specialist assessment services in correctional facilities

Improve access to, and capacity of, specialist allied health services to assess functionality on site and provide advice on strategies that may improve client functioning and participation in service and programs.

Lead: Department of Health; Department of the Attorney-General and Justice

Timing: From 2022

1.4.5 Build capability to identify and respond to risk and protective factors resulting in a person with disability experiencing, or possibly being at risk of harm1

Identify a strengths-based model that enables a safe and secure environment for people with disability to identify and flag risks of harm.

Develop and implement policies, guidelines, and resources to recognise the safety risk factors for people with disability.

Lead: Department of Health

Timing: 2022

1.4.6 Update plans and processes for disaster and emergency management to include people with disability1

Review and update the NT Disability Pandemic Plan, to include the input from the COVID-19 lockdown experiences in the NT.

Include service providers in interagency and sector emergency management meetings.

Work with disability service providers to review and update the emergency management plan for each organisation.

Deploy a NT Government employee identifying as a person with lived experience of disability to join the Welfare Group to provide real time knowledge and awareness of the issues and concerns of vulnerable people.

Update the NT disability support services pandemic plan, into the categories of prevention, preparedness, response (outbreak response) and stand-down (recovery).

Update emergency plans in disability service organisations into the categories of prevention, preparedness, response (outbreak response) and stand-down (recovery).

The provision of accessible information for disaster and emergency management through the:

  • engagement of interpreters and development of resources for people who do not speak English as their first language, and an Auslan Interpreter to support the provision of information to the deaf and hard of hearing community
  • increase the expertise and reach of Auslan Interpreter workforce through the provision of a scholarship program.

Lead: Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

Timing: Ongoing

Staff throughout police, fire and emergency services are equipped with the training, resources, and operational practices they need to effectively support people with disability.

1.5.1 Develop educational resources for existing staff

Develop tools and resources to educate and support existing staff in how they can change practices to promote disability access and inclusion within the organisation.

Lead: Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services

Timing: 2024

1.5.2 Develop operational principles

Develop, deploy, and regularly review training and operational practices to respond effectively to scenarios involving people with disability.

Lead: Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services

Timing: 2024

All eligible people with disability can access services and the NDIS regardless of where they live.

1.6.1 Support NDIS access

Support and advocate for represented persons involved with the Public Guardian to access the NDIS and for their NDIS plan to be reflective of the needs of the person.

Lead: Office of the Public Guardian

Timing: Ongoing

1.6.2 Assist with NDIS navigation

Support organisations to navigate the NDIS system, including payments and setting up businesses that will complement the NDIS.

Lead: Chamber of Commerce

Timing: Ongoing

Develop NDIS support coordinators framework for represented persons involved with the Public Guardian.

Lead: Office of the Public Guardian

Timing: By 2025

1.6.3 Improve NDIS access through Aboriginal community controlled organisations

Build the Aboriginal community controlled sectors capacity to support access to the NDIS, consistent with the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and the associated National Disability Sector Strengthening Plan.

Lead: Department of Chief Minister and Cabinet

Timing: Ongoing

1.6.4 Support new and additional registrations under the NDIS

Small business champions to continue to work with existing Territory enterprises to support new and additional registrations under the NDIS.

Lead: Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade

Timing: Ongoing

1.6.5 Improve NDIS access through Aboriginal community controlled health organisations

Build the capacity of Aboriginal community controlled health organisations to become registered NDIS providers.

Lead: Department of Health

Timing: Ongoing

1.6.6 Support children and young people in the child protection or youth justice systems to access the NDIS

Provide support and advocacy around NDIS access and planning.

Monitor and increase the percentage of children and young people in care who have access to NDIS supports.

Provide ongoing training for child protection practitioners and youth justice staff around NDIS eligibility, access and supports.

Develop practice resources for child protection practitioners and youth justice staff around NDIS eligibility, access and supports.

Lead: Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

Timing: Ongoing

“There needs to be better education on the rights and needs of people with disability.”

“We need to strengthen advocacy services and widely advertise them -most people (including me until recently) are not aware that they even exist.”

“The NDIS is enabling me to live a much safer and comfortable life.”

– Consultation participants

Read outcome 2.

References and notes

1 The NT Government’s actions under the Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021 – 2031, Targeted Action Plans

7 Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, Overview of responses to the Criminal Justice System Issues Paper, page 2 (2020)

8 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, (2015), Catalogue number 4430.0 (20 April 2017)

9 Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, Overview of responses to the Criminal Justice System Issues Paper, page 3 (2020)

10 Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, Issues Paper: Rights and Attitudes, page 3; Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, opened for signature 30 March 2007, 999 UNTS 3 (entered into force 3 May 2008), see for example arts 4(3), 29(b)(ii) and 33(3), (2020)


Last updated: 29 September 2022

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