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Disability Discrimination

A person with disability has the right to participate on an equal basis in education, employment and other areas of society and to be protected against discrimination.

Disability Discrimination is when a person with disability is treated unfairly because of their disability compared to a person without a disability, under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) or DDA.

The DDA makes discrimination unlawful and provides people with disability and their associates the right to lodge a complaint if they feel discrimination has occurred.

In education students are protected by two main pieces of legislation:

  • the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) or DDA
  • the Disability Standards for Education (DSE) 

What is the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)

The federal Disability Discrimination Act (1992) (DDA) makes it illegal to harass or discriminate against a person with disability or their associate, on the basis of disability, in the areas of:

  • education
  • employment
  • accommodation
  • goods and service provision
  • premises
  • transport
  • access to Commonwealth laws and programs

Disability discrimination is when a person is treated unfairly because of their disability. The discrimination can be disadvantage based on either:

  • being treated in the same ‘blanket’ way as those without a disability, i.e., without any reasonable consideration or accommodation of their disability; or
  • being treated unfairly in a way that is different to others without a disability.

More information about the Disability Discrimination Act

    What is the Disability Standards for Education (DSE)

    The Disability Standards for Education were introduced in 2005 to clarify the obligations of education and training service providers, and the rights of people with disability under the DDA. This includes the right to access and participate in education on an equal basis as students without disability and receive reasonable adjustments to facilitate a student’s participation.

    The DSE protects people with disability in education and includes information about:

    • your rights 
    • the obligations of education providers
    • understanding reasonable adjustments to facilitate a student's participation in study.

    More information about Disability Standards for Education 

      What if you feel your rights under the DDA or the DSE have been breached?

      The DDA allows a person who feels discriminated against to raise a complaint. There are a range of pathways to resolving complaints by lodging a complaint with:

      • your education or training provider
      • your state or territory human rights commission 
      • the Australian Human Rights Commission 

      To find out what to do if you feel your rights are not being upheld visit our pages on your rights and making a complaint