The rights of people with disability to access services are protected by laws in NSW and Australia.

Anti Discrimination Legislation

The Anti Discrimination Act 1977(NSW) and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (CWTH) make it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of disability. The NSW Anti Discrimination Board is responsible for the Anti Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) and the Australian Human Rights Commission administers the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (CWTH).

Both pieces of legislation are complaints based. The Acts provide for the provision of reasonable adjustments or assistance to access mainstream services. They also offer the respondent the opportunity to present a case of 'unjustifiable hardship' in the circumstances when the respondent considers meeting the particular needs of a person with a disability a significant burden.

Disability Inclusion Act 2014 (NSW)

The Disability Inclusion Act (NSW) 2014 came into force on 3 December 2014 and the NSW Disability Services Act of 1993 was repealed.

The Disability Inclusion Act relates to the accessibility of mainstream services and facilities, the promotion of community inclusion and the provision of funding support and services for people with disability.

Part 2 of the Act focuses on Disability Planning and notes that a State plan and individual Disability Inclusion Action Plan must be prepared for each government authority. The plans must set out the measures to be put in place to ensure people with disability can access general supports and services available and can participate fully in the community.

Plans must be prepared in consultation with people with disability and must include strategies to:

  • Provide access to building facilities and events

  • Provide access to information

  • Accommodate specific needs of people with disability

  • Support employment of people with disability

  • Encourage and create opportunities for people with disability to access the full range of services and activities available to the community.

Implementation of plans must be reported on annually and reviewed before the end of a 4 year period.

Part 3 of the Disability Inclusion Act continues the existence of the Disability Council of NSW and provides details on membership, functions, assistance and reporting functions.

The Act also references service standards and the provision of supports and services. It also provides the eligibility criteria for financial supports for both people with disability and disability entities that provide services to people with disability.

View the Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2015-2018.

NSW Trustee and Guardian Act

NSW Trustee and Guardian (NSWTG) is an independent statutory authority legally appointed to protect and administer the financial affairs and property of people unable to make financial decisions for themselves. The powers of the NSW Trustee and guardian are embedded in the NSW Trustee and Guardian Act 2009.

NSWTG provides financial management services and a wide range of legal, technical, disability and other services to people who may have a disability, such as:

  • protecting assets and legal rights

  • facilitating the buying and selling of a home

  • organising an adequate cash flow to pay bills

  • liaising with financial and legal institutions

  • managing a business

  • making investments

Guardianship Act 1987(NSW)

The NSW Public Guardian exists to promote the rights and interests of people with disabilities through the practice of guardianship, advocacy and education. The Guardianship Act 1987(NSW) provides for The Guardianship Division to appoint the NSW Public Guardian as guardian of last resort. The Public Guardian then acts as a substitute decision-maker for people under their guardianship.

The NSW Public Guardian is the guardian for people who may have disabilities such as dementia, intellectual disability, brain injury, or mental illness and have a decision making incapacity.

The main responsibilities of the NSW Public Guardian are to:

  • make a particular personal decision on behalf of a person under guardianship when given the authority to do so;

  • provide or withhold consent to medical and dental treatment on behalf of a person under guardianship when given the authority to do so;

  • advocate on behalf of the person under guardianship for services the person may need ;

  • be the guardian for time specified in the guardianship order;

  • provide information and support to private and enduring guardians; and to 

  • provide information on the role and function of guardians to the general community.