What’s needed


A systematic approach that:

• delivers appropriate services that is best for the individual, when and where it is needed
• addresses the gaps in service provision to people with a disability
• empowers consumers to have choice and control over their required services and access to healthcare




Disability affects the wider Australian community:

  • 1 in 5 Australians (18.3% or 4.3million Australians) report they have a disability [1]
  • 78.5% report a physical condition and 21.5% report mental and behavioural disorders [1]
  • 23.9% of people who identify as being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent report living with a disability compared to 17.5% of non-Indigenous Australians [2]


People with a disability also experience poorer physical health. Based on reports from people living with a severe or profound disability:

  • 46% undertake no physical activity versus 31% for those without disability [3]
  • 1.7 times as likely to be obese as those without disability [3]
  • have a higher prevalence of various types of long-term health conditions [3]
  • 3.3 times as likely to have 3 or more long-term health conditions as those without disability (74% versus 23%) [3]


Participation in physical activity for sport for people with a disability was reported to be:

  • 59% for people aged 5 to 14 years [4]
  • 20% for 15-64-year-olds [4] compared to 28% of the Australian population [5]
  • 12% for people aged 65 years [4] and older compared to 17% of the Australian population [5]


Participation in physical activity for exercise or recreation was reported to be:

  • 66% for children and youth aged 5 to 14 years [4]
  • 50% for 15-64-year-olds [4] compared to 60% for the same aged Australian population [5]
  • 36% for people aged 65 years [4] and older compared to 47% the same aged Australian population [5]
  • Significant barriers to participation in physical activity and sport include lack of inclusion, negative societal attitudes and lack of local opportunities [6]


Cost of inaction

  • reduced quality of life and decreased life expectancy for people living with a disability [7]
  • increased demand for health care and support services, increasing economic and time constraints for carers and support workers
  • insufficient workforce to cater for NDIS growth which has increased by 73% between 2016- 2017 [8] thus decreasing the ability to provide appropriate consumer-centred care



  • People living with a disability receive the same physical, mental, and social benefits from participating in sport and physical activity as those without a disability.
  • Increase access to exercise services under the NDIS by ensuring the disability workforce is increased across the allied health spectrum, including ESSA accredited professionals.
  • NDIS prices that reflect the realistic costs of providing high-quality care and support, stimulating investment in growth and change.
  • Education for NDIA personnel regarding exercise physiology and exercise science services and the benefits across health continuum (preventative, management, treatment).
  • Further investment in sector and workforce development that assists disability service providers to make the transition to the NDIS.
  • Support consumers by increasing their choice and access to services that support their physical and mental health needs.
  • Participants able to choose NDIS planners who have expertise and experience in disability support.



  1. ABS. (2018). 4430.0 – Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2015. [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].
  2. ABS. (2018). 4430.0 – Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2015.  [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].
  3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2018). Significant health gap remains between Australians with disability and those without disability. [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].
  4. ABS. (2018). 4156.0.55.001 – Perspectives on Sport, April 2014. [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].
  5. ABS. (2018). 4177.0 – Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2013-14. [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].
  6. Clearinghouse. (2018). Clearinghouse: Persons with Disability and Sport.  [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].
  7. World Health Organization. (2018). Disability and health. [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].
  8. Wahlquist, C. (2018). NDIS costs and demand overwhelming disability service providers, report says. [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].