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ABS data collections provide key disability statistics that are used by both government and private agencies to identify and understand the needs of Australians with disability.
COLLECTING DISABILITY DATA
In Australia, the needs of people with disability were first recognised in legislation under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Following the introduction of this legislation, there was an increase in demand from government and private agencies for statistical data on people with disability. This has continued as Australia faces an ageing population with an anticipated increase in the number of people with disability.
Changes to disability service provision following the national rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), has resulted in further demand for disability data and an increased need for specific measures of different population groups and geographic areas across Australia. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is a key population group for which the ABS has experienced greater demand for disability data.
The ABS collects disability data from a range of collections:
COLLECTING DATA FOR ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY
The 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (1994 NATSIS) was the first nation wide survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It was developed as part of the Australian Government's response to the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, in which the final recommendations included improving the collection and accessibility of statistical information available for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population1. The 1994 NATSIS collected some information on disability as well as social, demographic, health and economic statistics.
The ABS has since developed two surveys designed specifically to collect data for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population:
Disability data for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population has also been available from the SDAC since 2009, when the Standard Indigenous Question (SIQ) was first included in the survey, and from the Census of Population and Housing since 2006.
None of these collections are able to individually give a complete picture of disability for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, as there are limitations with each.
This paper provides a comparative analysis of disability data collected for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population between 2012 and 2016 and includes the following collections:
For the full list, and detailed description, of all ABS collections that provide disability measures for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, see Appendix: ABS data collections for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.
1 Indigenous Law Resources 29 April 1998, Reconciliation and Social Justice Library, ‘Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody’, Volume 5, Viewed 16 May 2018.
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