Legislative Requirements

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Legislation exists both federally and in the States to protect people from discrimination based on disability. The Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act and each of the State Acts aim to protect people with disability from discriminatory treatment in a range of areas including education, employment, and access to services, facilities and public areas.

Commonwealth Legislation

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA)

The Commonwealth’s Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) aims to protect people from discrimination based on disability.

What is disability under the legislation?

The definition of disability under the DDA is very broad to ensure that everyone with a disability is protected. This definition can relate to a person who has a physical, intellectual, psychiatric, sensory, neurological or learning disability. It includes a disability that:

For the full definition of disability under the DDA visit the disability definitions page.


If a person believes that they are being discriminated against on the basis of their disability they may make a complaint under the DDA of direct discrimination, indirect discrimination or harassment. Disability discrimination is unlawful in the areas of education; employment; accommodation; goods, services and facilities; clubs and associations; and commonwealth laws and programs. Complaints made under the DDA are handled by the Australian Human Rights Commission, formerly Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

Disability Standards for Education 2005

The Disability Standards (Section 31) of the DDA apply to all education providers including ACE providers. The Standards are an integral part of the DDA and specify how education and training are to be made accessible to people with disability. They cover standards for:

For more detail visit the Disability Standards page or contact the ACE Disability Network.

Action Plans

An action plan is a tool that organisations can use to review and improve their services and access for people with disability.  Reasons for having an Action Plan include:

Action Plans are described under Section 60 of the DDA. To find guidelines for developing a DDA Action Plan relevant to the ACE sector visit the Australian Human Rights website or contact the ACE Disability Network for advice.

Victorian Legislation

The Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 1995

Under the EOA discrimination it is against the law to discriminate against someone on the basis of a number of personal characteristics including age, breastfeeding, carer responsibilities, disability or impairment, gender identity, industrial activity, lawful sexual activity, marital status, parental status, physical features, political belief or activity, pregnancy, race, religious belief or activity, sex, sexual orientation or personal association with someone who has, or is assumed to have one of these personal characteristics.

Discrimination is against the law in a number of public areas of life including accommodation, clubs, education, employment, the provision of goods and services, selling and transferring land and sport.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

The Commission helps people resolve complaints of discrimination or sexual harassment by providing a conciliation service that is confidential, impartial, free and simple. The Commission is not a tribunal or court. It helps people resolve complaints by mutual agreement. The Commission does not prosecute, make judgments for or against either side, nor can it award compensation.