About the Priorities Project

The Priorities Project was about ensuring the work put in by people with disability, independent disability advocates, subject matter experts, families and allies across both reforms is honoured by creating a pathway towards reform. 

The Disability Royal Commission and NDIS Review handed down their final recommendations in 2023. These historic recommendations, 248 in total, have the potential for enormous change for people with disability across many areas of their lives. However, in order to realise this potential, priorities need to be agreed on and reform activities need to begin. 

The Priorities Project team worked together with the independent disability advocacy sector to understand advocacy priorities from the Disability Royal Commission and NDIS Review. From there, we proposed practical, short-term solutions the Federal Government can implement to ensure that change happens and that people with disability are the leaders and drivers of disability reform. 

    Project summary

    • We consulted with 130 independent disability advocates, subject matter experts, and people with disability across 28 different sessions.  

    • We spent 40 direct hours in consultation and facilitation. 

    • We spoke to people across every state and territory, and engaged with people living in rural, remote and very remote areas to discuss their specific challenges and concerns.

      Key principles for change 

      In consulting widely with the sector, we repeatedly heard not only advocacy priorities, but key principles needed to make any proposed changes successful. These underpin the work of the Priorities Project, and they must also underpin the work the Federal Government takes in implementing reform. 


      Choice is a critical safeguard and must not be eroded during the reform process. This extends to choice of providers, of living options, of education options, of pathways forward.


      Building, renewing and maintaining trust must be a major focus of reform in order to make proposed reforms successful. Consultations identified that there is a lack of trust between the Federal Government, including the NDIA, and many people with disability.


      Knowing people exist, where they are, and what is happening to them by collecting data is a critical safeguard. Without it, we don’t know whether systems are working or not. 

      Disability-specific data is often not captured within mainstream services. This means we don’t always know when systems and processes are failing people with disability specifically. 

      To fully understand the experiences of people with disability, intersectional experiences must also be captured and understood. Looking at disability experience through an intersectional lens makes it clear which groups are underserved and in need of targeted support. 

      Shared decision making 

      Co-design was raised in nearly every Priorities discussion with mixed responses. Everyone recognises the need for reform to be co-designed with people with disability but many feel pessimistic about its genuineness, including at the Federal government level. Instead of talking about co-design, we propose talking about shared decision making. First Peoples Disability Network, through their National Disability Footprint and the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, has led sector discussions on shared decision making. We use these terms in allyship, and encourage the Federal Government to engage further with FPDN to truly understand and entrench shared decision making in disability reform.  

      Sharing decision making means: 

      • Reform happens with us, not to us. 
      • People with disability come up with the ideas and set the agenda. 
      • People with disability are involved at the start of planning, and continue to be involved the whole way through. 
      • People with disability with a range of diverse backgrounds and experiences are involved and have the right support to truly be involved. 
      • People with disability make decisions that government sticks to.