Disability ministers meet to set 2023 priorities: early childhood development on agenda
The Sector > Policy > Disability ministers meet to set 2023 priorities: early childhood development on agenda

Disability ministers meet to set 2023 priorities: early childhood development on agenda

by Freya Lucas

February 21, 2023

Disability ministers met in Canberra last week to set collective priorities for the year ahead, focused on improving the lives of people with disability, including early childhood development in their discussions. 


The meeting was the first of the Disability Reform Ministerial Council (DRMC) as represented in the new federation architecture, formerly the Disability Reform Minister’s Meeting. As a Ministerial Council, the DRMC will now report directly to the National Cabinet, signifying the importance the Australian Government is placing on matters affecting people with disability.   


“Together with state and territory ministers, we have mapped out our priorities for the next year, and discussed how we can work together to make real, tangible differences in the lives of people with disability around the country,” said Federal Minister for the NDIS, the Hon. Bill Shorten.


Ministers agreed to a number of priorities for the year including: 


  • improving outcomes and building evidence base;
  • closing market gaps and ensuring access to quality and safe services; 
  • accessible communities; 
  • ensuring the NDIS and mainstream system work well together; and 
  • delivering the NDIS review.  


Minister Shorten welcomed special guest Mr Dylan Alcott AO to the meeting who shared reflections on his time as Australian of the Year and presented on his work in the sector. The  ministers then endorsed the report from the 2022 Australia’s Disability Strategy Forum, which provided an opportunity for people with disability to discuss and shape the implementation of the strategy.  


Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the Government was focused on the many different ways the lives of people living with disability could be improved – from employment to the support frameworks for early childhood development. 


Working alongside state and territory disability ministers via DRMC, silos in policy development could be minimised, Minister Rishworth said.   


“There are 4.4 million Australians living with disability – that’s one in six of us – and it’s important the supports we provide as governments are embedded right across society,” Minister Rishworth said.  


“At a Commonwealth level, we’re committed to supporting employers to understand and work with people with disability to create inclusive workplace cultures that allow people with disability to thrive. We’re also doing things like working on a National Autism Strategy and embedding supports for young people living with disability into our Commonwealth Early Years Strategy.”   


Ministers also endorsed the work plan for Australia’s Disability Strategy Advisory Council, which has a critical role in the implementation and monitoring of the strategy, paving a clear way forward for the strategy’s important work. 


The next DRMC will be held in March 2023. The communiqué for the Council meeting is available on the Department of Social Services website

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