Jump to Content



APPENDIX D-Report under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy

This appendix summarises the department's progress in implementing the Commonwealth Disability Strategy, which aims to ensure that people with disabilities are able to participate fully in community life.

The strategy challenges us to consider how we approach and report on our performance in five broad roles: policy adviser, purchaser, regulator, provider and employer.

Policy adviser


The policy adviser is responsible for initiating and developing government policy.

They consider the needs of different groups and advise on what the government should achieve for the community as a whole

The department undertakes research and analysis and provides policy advice to ministers on a range of transport and regional issues, addressing disability issues where appropriate.

Performance indicators

New or revised policy/programmes that impact in different ways on the lives of people with disabilities are developed in consultation with people with disabilities.

In developing policies and programmes, the department seeks to consult directly with clients and peak bodies. We are in regular contact with over 120 different groups, as listed in Appendix F of this report.

We included people with disabilities in our consultations and supported several forums through which their specific needs are considered. These include the:

  • Accessible Public Transport National Advisory Committee (APTNAC)
  • Accessible Public Transport Jurisdictional Committee-established to discuss government positions on issues raised at APTNAC meetings.

New or revised policy/programme proposals assess the direct impact on the lives of people with disabilities prior to decision.

All new policy proposals our ministers present to government are required to describe their likely impact on the community.

New or revised policy/programme initiatives have a communication strategy developed and sufficiently resourced to inform people with disabilities.

During 2005-06, we used a variety of strategies to communicate information on new government policies and programmes. For example:

  • We continued to post announcements of new policies and programmes on our websites promptly-generally within 24 hours of release.
  • We registered 1.8 million hits on the whole-of-government website (www.grantslink.gov.au).
  • We registered 1.2 million hits on the Regional Entry Point website (www.regionalaustralia.gov.au) from people wanting information about government services.
  • We answered more than 22,000 inquiries, including over 17,000 calls from people wanting information about government services through the Australian Government Regional Information Service toll-free call centre (page 128).



The regulator is responsible for enforcing legislation or other government 'rules'. These rules may include quasi-regulations such as codes of conduct and advisory instruments or notes.

The department administers transport regulations and standards and works closely with other relevant regulators on:

Performance indicators

Resources are provided so that publicly available and accessible information on regulations is communicated appropriately to people with disabilities, and especially to those identified as having a high level of non-compliance.

To ensure that information on the regulations we administer is available and accessible, we:

  • publish a regulatory plan early each financial year
  • use plain English in preparing regulation impact statements and guidance materials
  • publish publicly available information on regulations on our website (www.dotars.gov.au)
  • offer toll-free telephone numbers in key areas such as motor vehicle imports (see inside back cover for details).

Affected groups are consulted in the context of specific initiatives. For example, in 2005-06, nationwide workshops were held to learn from hundreds of aviation, maritime and other industry participants and enhance their security risk readiness.



The purchaser determines what is to be purchased and from whom. Purchased items may include outsourced government services, grants and cultural items for public display.

In 2005-06 the department administered grants, subsidies and other payments on behalf of the Australian Government totalling $6.4 billion. These payments mainly related to:

  • national road and rail infrastructure
  • maritime and land transport
  • regional services
  • services to territories
  • services to local government, including a number of Indigenous councils
  • natural disaster mitigation and relief.

In our day-to-day operations, the department also purchased a range of goods and services costing $97.8 million in supplier expenses.

Performance indicators

Purchasing processes that impact in different ways on the lives of people with disabilities are developed in consultation with people with disabilities.

The department consults with stakeholders in managing tenders, contracts and grants.

Tendering specifications and contract requirements for the purchase of goods or services are consistent with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

All entities receiving payments are required to comply with relevant state and federal laws, including the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984.

Only two major programmes are discretionary, in that the minister or department has discretion in determining whether a particular applicant receives funding and what, if any, conditions are imposed on the payment.

Several of the grants administered in 2005-06 focused on assisting people with a disability to enter the workforce. For examples of these and other projects, see the Regional Partnerships Programme (page 132), and Sustainable Regions Programme (page 137).

Complaints mechanisms enable people with disabilities to address issues and raise concerns about the performance of service providers (contracted or other), and the purchasing agency.

The department recognises and respects the rights of clients to provide us with feedback about our services, regardless of whether services are delivered directly by us or through a third party. In this context, we provide a single report on our complaints mechanisms under the 'Provider' role.
We also consult staff about purchasing decisions that might affect the lives of staff with disabilities (see 'Employer' role).



The provider delivers services, often under contract by government. Providers can be government, private or not-for-profit organisations.

The department delivers transport and regional services and information to, and in partnership with, government, industry and the broader community. The only services delivered directly to individuals are:

  • the infrastructure and services we provide to the 2,744 residents of Australia's non-self governing territories
  • the Australian Government Regional Information Service.

Performance indicators

Providers have established mechanisms for planning for implementation, monitoring and review that comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

The department seeks feedback through a range of mechanisms about the activities it delivers or for which it administers funding. Examples can be found in our report on performance (chapters 3 and 4). The main ways we seek feedback are through:

  • reports from the bodies that receive funding, usually as projects pass key milestones, but sometimes on a regular basis as in the Roads to Recovery Programme (page 74)
  • client surveys where the beneficiaries of services can be identified, such as the individual households in airport noise insulation programmes (page 118)
  • formal evaluations of programmes, usually on a three- to five-year cycle.

Providers have an established service charter that specifies the roles of the provider and consumer and service standards which address accessibility for people with disabilities.

During 2005-06 we:

  • continued to ask our clients to rate the quality of our services (page 178)
  • had service charters in place explaining how customers can provide us with feedback.

Complaints mechanisms enable people with disabilities to address issues and raise concerns about the performance of providers.

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission received two complaints about the department in 2005-06. There was a 14 per cent increase in complaints about the department to the Ombudsman during 2005-06 compared to 2004-05; however, this was still well below the number of complaints to the ombudsman in the previous two years (page 178).



The employer provides a range of work conditions including wages in exchange for labour to produce goods and services. All portfolio agencies undertake
this role.

The department is an employer under the Public Service Act 1999. At 30 June 2006, we employed 94 people in the Indian Ocean Territories, and 1,285 people in other locations around Australia.

In 2005-06, the number of our staff reporting a disability increased slightly from 21 to 23. Despite this improvement, the proportion of our workforce reporting a disability remains below the Australian Public Service average. A disability employment strategy will be developed and implemented in 2006-07 to address this issue.

Performance indicators

Employment policies, procedures and practices comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

Our employment policies and practices reflect the requirements of relevant laws, including the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. In addition, we:

  • include a specific clause in our collective agreement reminding staff of these legislative requirements
  • offer flexible working arrangements and opportunities for personal and professional development to staff

Recruitment information for potential job applicants is available in accessible formats on request.

The department publishes details of employment opportunities weekly in the Australian Public Service Gazette (www.psgazette.gov.au) and also, on occasion, in the press.

More detailed recruitment information is available on our website (www.dotars.gov.au) and on request from the contact for each opportunity.

Agency recruiters and managers apply the principle of 'reasonable adjustment'.

Assistance is readily available to ensure that an applicant or employee with a disability receives fair, equitable and non-discriminatory consideration. This may include interpreters or, for hearing or speech-impaired applicants, the relay services of the Australian Communication Exchange. Diversity data for new staff is recorded at induction.

Once recruited, staff can access occupational health and safety services as appropriate. These have included workplace assessments (page 191), car parking spaces for people with disabilities, telephone equipment for hearing-impaired staff, and voice recognition software and special computer keyboards for staff at risk of occupational overuse injury.

Training and development programmes consider the needs of staff with disabilities.

The department provides access to a range of learning and development activities to cater to varying staff needs.

Training and development programmes include information on disability issues as they relate to the content of the programme.

The department's training and development programmes include information on disability issues where relevant. Specific courses that cover disability issues include training for:

  • new starters, giving an overview of support mechanisms in place for all occupational health and safety issues
  • fire wardens, as staff with a disability may have specific evacuation arrangements
  • occupational health and safety representatives, who are made aware of staff with particular needs to ensure that the workplace is free of hazards for all staff
  • workplace harassment contact officers, who are made aware of the types of issues that may arise for people with disabilities.

Complaints/grievance mechanisms, including access to external mechanisms, in place to address issues and concerns raised by staff.

If a member of staff has a specific complaint or grievance, we encourage them to take the matter up with their supervisor or with the senior management in their division. If this does not resolve the matter, the collective agreement sets out the process for resolving disputes.