Diversity on Boards - DisabilityIncreasing the variety of people who serve on your Board offers the opportunity to tap into a rich pool of talented candidates, bringing new voices, experiences and approaches to the decision-making process. It will also help you to add depth to existing skills and ideas and, perhaps most importantly, bring the Board closer to properly representing its stakeholders.
Greater diversity will also expand the networks available to your group, help you to reach your "audience," increase the profile of your group and build support for what you are doing in key constituencies.
A number of studies have found that having a diverse Board can also bring about better organisational performance – both financial and non-financial. Diversity makes for better governance – and better governance inevitably means better results.
People with disabilities are great for Boards — they bring knowledge about how to make services, organisations and communities accessible to everyone.
Below we have listed a range of resources that will help you to make your Board more inclusive of people with disabilities. This list will expand over coming months so keep coming back to check for more resources.
In their own words
- Do you have a story to tell about being a person with a disability serving on Boards and Committees? Email your story to email@example.com.
- The NSW Premier's Department maintains a register of
people who have expressed an interest in a Board or Committee
appointment. It encourages suitably qualified people from diverse
backgrounds to apply.
- The WA Government has a website which provides access to
information relating to government boards and committees, including
statutory requirements, functions and membership details. It also allows
members of the public to register online to the Interested Persons Register,
while allowing access to the Register by Ministers and their agencies to
assist in finding suitable nominees for Boards and Committees.
- The Queensland Register of Nominees to Government
Bodies is a confidential listing of people who are interested in being
appointed to government boards, committees and statutory authorities.
All Queenslanders are eligible to join the register. Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander people, women, people with knowledge and
expertise on multiculturalism, young people and people with a disability
are encouraged to apply to join. The register is consulted by Ministers
when a vacancy becomes available.
- The Friendship Program, operated by
Disability Services Queensland, helps people with a disability and
other community members form and maintain friendships. Support might
include encouraging and facilitating people to join clubs and community
- The Australian Human Rights and Equal
Opportunity Commission has information about a range of legally
binding standards and guidelines to assist people and organisations
with responsibilities under legislation to avoid discrimination and
comply with their responsibilities.
- Missed Business? is
a guide developed by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
and Marrickville Council. It aims to provide small businesses with
information on how they can make their business more accessible to all
their customers, particularly people with disabilities. The information
in the guide may be of use to community groups wishing to be make their
organisations more accessible to people with disabilities.
- The NSW Government has prepared Guidelines for Disability Action Planning by NSW Government Agencies to support agencies to ensure as far as possible that people with a disability are able to access services and facilities on an equitable basis without facing discrimination or barriers.
- The WA Government's Disability Services Commission lists a
large range of publications that can help organisations become more
inclusive to people with disabilities.
- The WA Government's You're Welcome WA Access Initiative
is to improve access for people with disabilities. The initiative provides practical information to business and community groups to expand their customer base by making their services more access-friendly.
- Arts Access Australia has developed
three publications in partnership with the Australia Council for the
Arts. The Disability
Fact Pack examines the legal and moral obligations for arts
organisation in providing access for people with a disability. Access All Areas
is a practical guide for marketing the arts to people with disabilities. Making the Journey
is a case studies publication that is currently being developed.
- Spinal Cord Injuries Australia Access
conducts courses assisting students, designers, architects and other
building professionals in understanding the intent and requirements of
accessible buildings in the built environment.
- Deaf Australia Inc provides links to resources about how organisations can be more accessible.
- Spinal Cord Injuries Australia provides
needs-based, in-house Public Education Training designed to: develop a
corporate culture that promotes access and equity; remove the physical
and attitudinal barriers that prevent people with physical disabilities
from making full use of services; enhance the ability to tap into the
niche market of 1.5 million people with disabilities; increase staff's
knowledge of the needs of people with disabilities; meet the
requirements of the Building Code of Australia and DDA; and improve
customer service. The training generally incorporates issues concerning
people with various types of disabilities including physical
disability, vision and hearing impairments, psychiatric, intellectual
and other cognitive impairment.
- Getting the Message
is a booklet produced by Blind Citizens Australia (Sydney Branch) about
providing information in accessible formats, including "who needs it
and how to provide it".
- Women with Disabilities Australia have published a book called Taking the Lead – A
Leadership and Mentoring Resource Kit for Women with Disabilities.
- accessibility.com.au is an online
disability information resource. It includes a range of resources,
including consultancy services, design and maintenance of websites that
are more accessible to those with visual impairments and a guide to
conversational etiquette when talking to a person with a disability.
- The Australian
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission is an independent
statutory organisation, reporting to the Federal Parliament through the
Attorney-General. Its goal is to foster greater understanding and
protection of human rights in Australia and address the human rights
concerns of a broad range of individuals and groups. Disability rights
forms an important part of the Commission's work.
- The Australian Federation of Disability
Organisations has been established as the primary national voice to
government that fully represents the interests of all people with
disability across Australia.
- The Australian Government Department of Family and Community Services
supports people with disabilities and their families, promoting
independence and self-reliance through the provision of rehabilitation
services, disability employment services, provision of income support
and improving access and encouraging the involvement of people with
disabilities as members of the community.
on Disability within Ethnic Communities is a community-based
organisation that represents the rights and needs of people of
non-English speaking background with a disability and their carers. ADEC
provides advocacy, information, referral, education, training and
- The National
Ethnic Disability Alliance is the national consumer-based peak body
for people from a non-English speaking background with disability,
their families and carers. The overarching aim of NEDA is to advocate
at a federal level.
- National Disability Services (NDS)
is the national industry association for disability services. NDS's
membership includes more than 600 non-government, non-profit
organisations, which collectively operate several thousand services for
Australians with all types of disabilities, including intellectual,
physical, psychiatric and sensory. The NDS website provides links to
state and territory divisions.
- The Association of Consultants in Access,
Australia is a national membership-based professional association
for people working to achieve accessibility of the built environment
for people with a disability.
- The Disability
Studies and Research Institute undertakes research into and
education about disability issues from a social perspective and
promotes public debate associated with the social dimensions of
with Disabilities Australia is the peak organisation for women with
all types of disabilities in Australia. It is a federating body of
individuals and networks in each State and territory of Australia and is
made up of women with disabilities and associated organisations.
- Technical Aid to the Disabled works to
improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and those
caring for them through application of technology.
- People with Disability Australia Inc. is
a national peak disability rights and advocacy organisation. Its
primary membership is made up of people with disability and
organisations primarily constituted by people with disability.
- NICAN provides information on
recreation, tourism, sport and the arts for people with disabilities
and supports an Australian society where any recreational opportunity
values diversity, supports freed and choice and strengthens inclusive
communities. NICAN aims to create active and dynamic national links
between people, places and resources that improve access to recreation
experiences for people with disabilities and their communities. It is
funded as an information services by the Federal Department of Family
and Community Services.
- Deaf Australia Inc is the national peak organisation for Deaf people in Australia. It represents the views of Deaf people who use Auslan (Australian Sign Language). The website provides links to to state branches.
- Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (formerly
the Australian Quadriplegic Association) works to provide
consumer-based support and rehabilitation services to people with
physical disabilities. It also works in partnership with communities to
promote awareness of spinal cord injuries and similar conditions and to
create living and workplace environments capable of embracing,
encouraging and supporting such people.
Citizens Australia works to achieve equity and equality by
empowerment, by promoting positive community attitudes, and by striving
for high quality and accessible services which meet the needs of blind
and vision-impaired Australians.
on the Ageing (COTA) National Seniors is the largest seniors
organisation in Australia, with more than 270,000 individuals and 100
seniors organisations under its umbrella. It is an independent consumer
organisation that protects and promotes the wellbeing of all older
people. Its website provides links to state and territory Councils on
- Deafness Forum is the peak body for
deafness in Australia. Established in early 1993 at the instigation of
the Federal Government, the Forum now represents all interests and
viewpoints of the Deaf and hearing impaired communities of Australia.
- The Mental
Health Council of Australia is the independent, national
representative network of organisations and individuals committed to
achieving quality mental health for everyone in Australia.
- The National
Council on Intellectual Disability is the national association
representing people with intellectual disability and their families in
Australia. It aims to make the Australian community one in which people
with intellectual disability are involved and accepted as equal
- The Physical
Disability Council of Australia aims to ensure that by 2010 the
needs of people with a physical disability will be met in all
Commonwealth Government legislation, policies, services and programs and
in all areas of the private sector and the community of Australia,
enabling full participation.
- The Australian DeafBlind Council is a network for deafblind people or other interested people. It is a national council representing people who are deafblind, their support networks and organisations working in the field.
- The Victorian Disability Advisory Council (VDAC)
provides advice to the Victorian Minister for Community Services in respect of whole of government policies and strategies to increase the participation of people with a disability in the Victorian Community. The Council also works with other local and national community and government advisory groups to create opportunities for all Victorians.
- Disability News, InfoXchange provides
news and information about what is happening for people with
disabilities in Victoria.
- Disability Services is a Division of the
Victorian Department of Human Services that is responsible for funding
and providing a range of supports and services for people in Victoria
with intellectual, physical, sensory and dual disabilities,
neurological impairments and acquired brain injury.
- Disability Online is a Victorian
Government website providing people with disabilities, their families
and carers with access to online disability related information across
governments and the non-government sector.
- The NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home
Care works to promote opportunities to participate in community
- The Disability Council of NSW works to:
maintain and enhance delivery of quality advice to Government that
promotes inclusion and awareness of people with a disability in the
community; promote the integration of people with a disability into the
community through community awareness training and education; encourage
diversity, flexibility and innovation in the provision of services; and
consult with people with a disability, their families and carers.
- The Disability Referral Guide is a directory
of peak disability organisations in NSW. It also lists disability
information services and agencies that handle complaints.
- Ability Incorporated provides advocacy,
training, education, support and other programs that meet the
individual needs of people with disabilities, their families and
- The Physical Disability Council of New South
Wales Inc provides a state-wide voice for people with a physical
disability with the goal of securing equal rights for people with a
- Disability Services Queensland is the
State Government Department for disability services.
- The Disability Council of Queensland and 10
Regional Disability Councils are part of the State Government's
commitment to provide Queenslanders with greater opportunities to
participate in government decision-making.
- The Disability Information and Resource Centre
SA aims to enhance the status of people with a disability and
develop community understanding of disability-related issues by
providing accurate, relevant, timely and appropriately formatted
information on all aspects of disability.
- The SA Intellectual Disability Services Council
has responsibility for the overall coordination, planning and
development of services for people with intellectual disability within
SA. It advises the State Government on issues concerning people with
intellectual disability, assists people with intellectual disability to
access quality services and promotes community awareness and acceptance
of intellectual disability.
- The SA Department of Families and Communities' Disability Services Office funds 110 agencies to provide a range of services for people with disabilities.
- The Disability Services Commission of WA
works to make a positive difference to the lives of people with
disabilities, their families and carers. The Commission provides
leadership to: support local communities in welcoming and assisting
people with disabilities, their families and carers; achieve access to
quality support and services for people with disabilities; and protect
the rights of people with disabilities who are especially vulnerable
and support them to live a full and valued life.
- People with Disabilities (WA) Inc is a consumer-managed organisation which represents and advocates for the rights and equity of all Western Australians with a disability – physical, intellectual, psychiatric and sensory.
- The Minister's Disability Advisory
Committee (MDAC) provides provides independent advice directly to the Minister for Health and Human Services on a range of issues affecting Tasmanians with a disability, their families and carers.
- Disability Services is a Business Unit within the Human Services Group of the Department of Health and Human Services. The vision of Disability Services is "A society where all people with disabilities are able to achieve their maximum potential."
- The ACT Department of Disability, Housing and
Community Services has responsibility for a wide range of human
services functions in the ACT, including disability policy and
- The ACT Disability Advisory Council was
established in May 2003 to independently advise and make
recommendations to the Minister for Disability and other Ministers as
appropriate across a range of issues in relation to people with