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3414.0 - Guide to Migrant Statistical Sources, 2011 (Edition 2)  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/03/2011   
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The Disability Services National Minimum Data Set (DS NMDS)
(formally the Commonwealth State/Territory Disability Agreement National Minimum Data Set (CSTDA NMDS))


The Disability Services National Minimum Data Set (DS NMDS) and its national collection provide information relating to services funded under the National Disability Agreement (NDA) and the people receiving these services. The collection consists of a set of nationally significant data items that are collected in all Australian jurisdictions with an agreed method of collection and transmission.

The purpose of the DS NMDS collection is to facilitate the annual collection of nationally comparable data about funded services, and to obtain reliable, consistent data with minimal load on the disability services field.

The DS NMDS is an administrative data set. Data are collected by disability support service agencies and forwarded to the appropriate state/territory or Australian Government department. All data are then forwarded to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on an annual basis for collation of a national data set.

The DS NMDS (renamed from 1 July 2009) is a full-year, ongoing collection implemented in October 2002. Previously data were collected on a snapshot day basis under the former Commonwealth State Disability Agreement Minimum Data Set (CSDA MDS) which was implemented in 1995 and conducted at a national level from 1996 to 2002.

The NDA is a multilateral agreement between the Australian Government and the states and territories. Under this agreement, the Australian Government is responsible for the planning, policy setting and management of employment services, and the states and territories are responsible for all other disability support services. All governments share responsibility for advocacy, information and print disability services.


The DS NMDS collects data relating to all service types funded under the NDA and users of these services.

Most agencies funded under the NDA are requested to provide information about:

  • each of the service types they are funded to provide (i.e. the service type outlets they operate)
  • all service users who received support over a specified reporting period
  • the DS NMDS service type(s) the service user received

However, certain service type outlets (e.g. those providing advocacy or information/referral services) are not required to provide any service user details and other service type outlets (e.g. recreation/holiday programs) are only asked to provide very minimal service user details.



For service users:
  • Country of birth (using the Standard Australian Classification of Countries)
  • Interpreter services required
    • No
    • Yes
      • For spoken language other than English
      • For non-spoken communication


For service users: date of birth, sex, Indigenous status, living arrangements, postcode, residential setting, disability group, support needs, informal carer arrangements, receipt of carer allowance, labour force status, main source of income, individual funding status, receipt of service variables and communication method.

Service type outlets: service type, postcode, Statistical Local Area, funding jurisdiction, agency sector, full financial year of CSTDA funding, operation times (weeks, hours, days), staff hours, number of service users.

For more information, please refer to the DS NMDS Data Guide on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare web site.


Data are collected using residential postcode. They are published at the state/territory and remoteness classification level using the Australian Standard Geographical Classification.


A range of products including current data, past data, guides, collection forms, data dictionary and data cubes is available from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare web site.


Sean Ackland
Unit Head
Functioning and Disability Unit
Ph (02) 6244 1270

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