How well does the National Disability Insurance Scheme respond to the issues challenging Indigenous people with disability?


  • Phuong Lan Do



indigenous people, disability, social model, social policy


INTRODUCTION: The participation rates of Indigenous Australians in disability services were significantly lower than the prevalence of disability in Indigenous communities. The Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) promises changes to the lives of Australians with disability in general and particularly for the Indigenous population living with disability. This article presents research exploring how the NDIS takes into consideration the issues challenging Indigenous people’s access to, and use of, disability services.

METHODS: The theoretical underpinning of the research drew on the social model of disability and post-colonial theory, which informed a systematic review of disability services for Indigenous people, an analysis of the current policy-making process and current NDIS legislation.

FINDINGS: The systematic literature review revealed the social, attitudinal, physical and communication barriers experienced by Indigenous people accessing and using disability services; however, the policy analysis of the NDIS indicates that the new legislation does not address these challenges faced by this multi-disadvantaged Australian population group.

CONCLUSION: This research highlights the urgent need for disability policy improvements and promotes further design of culturally appropriate healthcare for Indigenous populations, who are still “disabled”, not only by colonised histories but also through contemporary socio-economic marginalization.   


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How to Cite

Do, P. L. (2017). How well does the National Disability Insurance Scheme respond to the issues challenging Indigenous people with disability?. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 29(4), 49–60.



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