The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability

Release of Final Report

After nearly 4 and a half years, the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability today released its final report, which included 222 recommendations.

Final Report | Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability

We have reviewed the Final Report and identified a number of key recommendations, including the following:

  • A new Australian law to recognise the human rights of people with disability – by way of an enactment of a Disability Rights Act.
  • A new National Disability Agreement – to advance equality, inclusion, and the rights of people with disability in Australia. This would be the framework for intergovernmental collaboration.
  • A new national Accessible information and communications plan to promote accessible information and communication.
  • Overcoming barriers to safe, quality and inclusive education.
  • Introducing the following actions to improve disability employment outcomes:
    • Reform the DES Program.
    • Increase public sector employment for people with disability – through targets and public reporting.
    • Promote accessibility through procurement policies.
    • Improve regulatory environment – amending the DDA by considering the nature and extent of adjustments and extent of consultation with any person with disability.
    • Support transitions to inclusive employment – ‘open employment first approach’.
    • Raise subminimum wages.
    • Develop a roadmap for inclusive employment.
  • Introducing inclusive housing to ensure effective housing and policy frameworks.
  • Ensuring people with disability have the right to humane treatment in criminal justice settings.
  • Providing First Nations people with disability with strong protections.
  • Requirement for all disability service providers to embed human rights in the design and delivery of products and services.
  • Improved process for the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.
  • Implementing independent oversight and complaint mechanisms.

We will continue to explore and update this information as we review the Final Report more deeply over the coming days and weeks.

Our response to the Final Report

The Australian Disability Network welcomes the recommendations made in the Final Report and supports the Royal Commission’s measures aimed at removing barriers to the employment and economic inclusion of people with disability.
We are very pleased the Royal Commission has recommended the introduction of employment targets for people with disability within the public sector.
What we would like to see now is that the private sector takes up these recommendations to support the significant change that is required for disability employment.

After consultation with employers, we have developed a Business Case for Disability Employment Targets and a series of How-to-Guides which we will release in coming weeks to help employers introduce employment targets.

We also hosted a webinar, where we provided the background information in relation to employment that came out of the Royal Commission.  Our Project Manager, Peta Magick, spoke through the Disability Employment’s Target’s Business Case.

Watch the webinar held by the Australian Disability Network on the reflections of the Royal Commission.

Download the transcript for the webinar on the reflections of the Royal Commission (Word, 96Kb). 

This was followed by a panel discussion from two of our members; AGL and Medibank. The panel discussed their organisation’s motivation for setting targets and shared some of the initiatives that helped them increase disability representation within their organisations.

Information for Employers

The Final Report provides some key points for employers to consider in order to make Australian workplaces more inclusive for people with disability:

  • Barriers to employment – Attitudinal, physical and environmental, organisational and structural systemic barriers prevent many people with disability from obtaining and retaining open employment.
  • Job seeking – The current approach employers take to describe inherent requirements can act as a barrier to employment in numerous ways (e.g. must have valid drivers licence, when that is in fact not necessary).
  • During employment – Employers need knowledge, skills, leadership and resources to support people with disability. The experience of employees with disability is heavily dependent on the goodwill of their direct line manager. organisations need an ‘authorising environment’ for hiring people with disability which requires a ‘clear message from the top’ and ‘commitment’ from senior leadership to be an organisation that is accessible and inclusive.
  • Workplace adjustments – There is a need to improve employer awareness of their legal obligations to make adjustments and to help them navigate their compliance.
  • Career progression – Once employed, people with disability can continue to experience barriers to their success and wellbeing at work, and their opportunities for promotion or progression.

Best practice for employers to create an open and inclusive workplace for people with disability:

  • involve people with disability in the design of employment strategies.
  • ensure policies are designed to work for the person with disability.
  • ensure effective implementation measures are in place.
  • create competency frameworks for employees who recruit and manage people with disability.
  • set targets to measure the number of people with disability joining and remaining in employment.

Access to free specialist support for anyone affected by the Disability Royal Commission

Many of the outputs from the report may be triggering to people with disability, carers, families and allies. Anyone affected can seek free specialist support from Blue Knot Foundation’s National Counselling and Referral Service (Call 1800 421 468).


The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability ran for close to four and half years, with the final sitting Friday 22 September 2023.

The Disability Royal Commission held: –

  • 32 major hearings,
  • Over 7,900 submissions,
  • 1,785 private sessions
  • Numerous reports published

The Final Report of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability was handed down to the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), on Thursday 28 September 2023.

Our Submission and input

As the employers’ voice for the inclusion of people with disability, the Australian Disability Network provided a submission to the Disability Royal Commission on 23 September 2020 AND Submission (

Suzanne Colbert, founding member and CEO at the time, contributed to Public hearing 9: Pathways and barriers to open employment for people with disability on the 10 December 2020.

We also submitted recommendations, reports and evidence from the work we do at Australian Disability Network, including a Stepping Into Internship evaluation, our Access and Inclusion Index Benchmark Report 2019-20 and the results from our 2017 Disability Confidence Survey

For the full report, please visit the Disability Royal Commission website.

Our response to the final report 

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