The case for inclusion

Disability is a part of our lives

  • In NSW there are over 1.3 million people living with disability.
  • Disability may be acquired at birth or early in life; or it can be the result of accident, illness or injury at any later stage.
  • Disability rates increase substantially as we age, with close to 40 per cent of us having some form of disability by the time we’re 70.
  • We experience a range of impacts because of disability, with just under 6 per cent of the population experiencing profound or severe disability.
  • Disability is caused by a range of conditions. This includes intellectual, physical, cognitive, sensory, and neurological impairments or mental illness.
  • What disabilities have in common is the disadvantage and discrimination that many experience as a result.

What does ‘inclusion’ mean?

Inclusion is about respect and action.

To be inclusive, is to take steps so that a person can meaningfully contribute in their workplace, community and society and have a sense of belonging.

Benefits of inclusion

In recent years there have been significant changes in disability policies in Australia. At the heart of these changes is recognising that people with disability have the right to full and effective participation in society.

An inclusive society doesn’t only benefit people with disability either, it benefits everyone.

  • As a community, we are strengthened by our diversity and are enriched through activities that promote inclusion.
  • Inclusion reduces disadvantage, isolation and discrimination. It has far reaching positive impacts across all aspects of life, including health, welfare, education and employment. These are felt beyond the individual as well, with families and the broader community all benefitting from an inclusive society.1
  • There are strong economic reasons for increasing the inclusiveness of our society. Analysis indicates that there are significant financial gains for both individuals and for the economy by assisting people with disability into productive and fulfilling employment.2

[1] Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012.
[2] The Economic Benefits of Increasing Employment for People with Disability, Deloitte Access Economics, 2011.

Last updated:

20 May 2022

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We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. 

Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.

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