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Legislation and Standards

A range of federal and state legislation providing equitable treatment for people with disability has implications for education and training organisations. A core piece of legislature is the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992, which imposes legal obligations not to discriminate against people with disability.

Many individuals, including students, are not aware that that their condition, illness or injury may be considered a disability under anti-discrimination legislation.  The DDA uses a very broad definition of disability encompassing physical, sensory, mental and intellectual disability; it defines 'disability', in relation to a person, as1:

  • total or partial loss of the person's bodily or mental functions, or
  • total or partial loss of a part of the body, or
  • the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness, or
  • the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness, or
  • the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person's body, or
  • a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction, or
  • a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person's thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgement or that results in disturbed behaviour

and includes a disability that:

  • presently exists, or
  • previously existed but no longer exists, or
  • may exist in the future, or
  • is imputed to a person.

Discrimination within the Act relates to less favourable treatment or consequences and covers direct and indirect discrimination.

Related Resources


    1 Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cwth) (Aust.). Retrieved from