Our Territory context

Our Territory is a large and unique place that is home to 250,000 people1, with more than 1 in 9 living with a disability.2

Our enormous landscape covers the desert of the Red Centre to the tropics of the Top End.

While many Territorians live in Darwin and Alice Springs, a high proportion of people live in regional towns and remote communities.

We are also one of Australia’s most culturally diverse places.

There are many different languages spoken and cultures practiced across the Territory.

Every person with disability in the Territory is different and comes with their own unique story.

Consistent with the Australia's Disability Strategy 2021-2031, this strategy recognises that people can be impacted by multiple forms of discrimination and disadvantage due to their:

  • race
  • sex, gender identity, sexual orientation
  • impairment
  • class
  • religion
  • age
  • social origin
  • other identity markers.

These can have overlapping and compounding effects and can interact with other factors such as living in regional and remote areas.

Recognising this ‘intersectionality’ and the diversity of people with disability is fundamental to a more inclusive Territory.

History

Over the last decade, the Territory disability landscape has changed dramatically.

In 2013, Australia created the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and changed the way people with disability receive specialist disability supports.

The Northern Territory (NT) Government funds around half of the cost of the NDIS in the Territory and remains committed to making it work well for Territorians with disability.

This includes supporting NDIS participants to use their funding and having more choice of providers.

However, only one-fifth of people with disability in the Territory are eligible for the NDIS.

The NDIS does not cover the broader range of government services that people with disability are eligible to access along with other Territorians – including education, health, housing, transport, justice, family support and employment services.

We know that there is more to do to ensure people with disability across the Territory have full access to all these services, particularly to:

  • increase access to services in remote locations
  • improve the cultural safety of services for Aboriginal people with disability.

In 2019, the Australian Government set up the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

The NT Government welcomes the recommendations of the Royal Commission due in 2023 and will review the strategy and its implications for the Territory when they are released.

Already, the Commission has reported on the importance of:

  • Aboriginal member-led organisations leading services
  • combating ‘double discrimination’ of Aboriginal people with disability.

Key statistics

Table 1 shows people with active NDIS plans in Australia by states and territories3

Table 1
State NDIS participants Percentage of NDIS participants
Northern Territory 4,761 0.9%
Queensland 107,635 20.8%
Western Australia 45,025 8.7%
South Australia 45,309 8.7%
New South Wales 156,992 30.3%
Australian Capital Territory 9,163 1.8%
Victoria 137,891 26.6%
Tasmania 11,832 2.3%

Table 2 shows NDIS participants who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander4

Table 2
State NDIS participants Percentage of NDIS participants
Northern Territory 4,864 50.1%
Australia-wide 518,668 5.7%

Number of NT NDIS participants per region5:

  • Darwin (urban) - 2,782
  • Darwin (remote) - 444
  • Katherine - 217
  • East Arnhem - 210
  • Barkly - 162
  • Other - 163.

Number of children (younger than 7 years old) in the NDIS accessing early connections from the Early Childhood Approach (ECA)6:

  • NT-wide - 103
  • Australia-wide - 80,239.

References and notes

1 Department of Treasury and Finance, NT Economy

2 Note that due to methodology limitations of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC), the number of people with disability in the NT is likely an underestimate. Estimated disability prevalence of 11.6% (more than 1 in 9) reflects 20,500 people with disability as a proportion of the population covered by the SDAC.

3 NDIS Quarterly Report to disability ministers, page 735 (31 March 2022)

4 NDIS Quarterly Report to disability ministers, page 679 (31 March 2022)

5 Northern Territory NDIS Monthly Performance Dashboard (31 March 2022)

6 NDIS Quarterly Report to disability ministers, page 675 (31 March 2022)


Last updated: 29 September 2022

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