Northcott contributes to Australian Human Rights Commission Report on Disability Rights

By Claire Absolum, 12 April 2017 , Comments

In March 2017, Northcott contributed its submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission report entitled ‘Shaping our future: Discussions on Disability rights’.

The AHRC consultations were spearheaded by Disability Discrimination Commissioner Alastair McEwin with the aim of seeking views from people across the country on disability rights issues in areas such as Education, Employment, Housing, the NDIS and the Criminal Justice system.

One of the authors of Northcott’s submission, Ruth Callaghan, General Manager of Stakeholder Relations said; “Northcott has a long and proud history of working with people with disability and their families and communities. We have seen at a grassroots level the many obstacles people with disability face in gaining access to equal rights and inclusion in our society. It has been a great opportunity to contribute our observations and recommendations to the Commission to highlight the lived experience of people with disability and to have these issues addressed at governmental, legislative and community sector levels. We congratulate Commissioner McEwin on his leadership in this important work.”


David Harper, co-author of Northcott’s submission to the ‘Shaping our future: Discussions on Disability Rights’ report

Northcott’s submission addressed the areas of Education, Employment and Housing and identified the following continuing challenges for people with disability:


  • The passage of human rights legislation in the past two decades has not fully addressed underemployment or unemployment among people with disability
  • Young people with disability entering the jobs market are much more likely than their peers without disability to be underemployed and this gap increases with age
  • Despite a clear economic argument, people with disabilities are not able to fully realise their right to full social and economic participation – this is a human rights issue as well as a financial cost to our community
  • Challenges persist in identifying employers receptive to hiring people with disabilities


  • There is still a lack of affordable housing for people with disabilities and innovative models to address growing need
  • There are still many young people with disability living in aged care facilities


  • Barriers to employment for people with disability begins in high school
  • More than 1 in 10 children in NSW public schools has a disability
  • Early intervention classes in the NSW public school system are offered to just 1% of students, despite increasing need
  • The rising share of education complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission under the Disability Discrimination Act clearly demonstrates the need for change
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-14 years are more than twice as likely as non-Indigenous children to have a disability, which substantially effects their educational attainment

Northcott continues to work with State and Federal governments as well as the not for profit and community sectors to advocate for the rights of people with disability in Australia. To read the full report click here or for further information or comments please email Claire Absolum, Media & PR Manager at


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