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Disability in Context

Providing definitions and statistics that support and shape our Disability Action Plan.

Disability in Context

The DAP has been developed and implemented as the Shrine’s response to The Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Within the Act disability is defined as ‘any impairment, abnormality, or loss of function, of any part of the body or mind’.

The Act cover disability within the definitions of:

  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Psychiatric
  • Sensory
  • Neurological
  • Learning disability
  • Physical disfigurement
  • Immunological (the presence of organisms causing disease in the body)

Current statistics reported on disability in Australia indicate as follows.

  • Over 4.4 million people in Australia have some form of disability. That’s one in six people.
  • The likelihood of living with disability increases with age. Forty per cent of people with disability are 65 years or older.
  • Of all people with disability, 1.9 million are aged 65 and over: 44.5% of all people with disability. This reflects both an ageing population and increasing life expectancy of Australians.
  • 2.1 million Australians of working age (15–64 years) have a disability.
  • 35.9% of Australia’s 8.9 million households include a person with disability.

The types of disability that are included within the above statistics are:

  • Only 4.4% of people with a disability in Australia use a wheelchair.
  • One in six Australians are affected by hearing loss. There are approximately 30,000 Deaf Auslan users with total hearing loss.
  • Vision Australia estimates there are currently 357,000 people in Australia who are blind or have low vision. They project that the number of Australians who are blind or have low vision will grow to 564,000 by 2030.
  • 45% of Australians aged 16–85 years, experience a mental health condition during their lifetime.
  • 3 million Australians live with depression or anxiety.
  • Research shows job or financial loss can increase a person’s risk of health problems, such as depression and anxiety.
  • 76.8% of people with disability reported a physical disorder as their main condition. The most common physical disorder was musculoskeletal disorder (29.6%) including arthritis and related disorders (12.7%) and back problems (12.6%).