Summary Report from Public Consultation on DRC Recommendations Released


The disability community and advocacy sector have been eagerly awaiting the government’s formal response to the Disability Royal Commission (DRC) recommendations. Following the release of a Progress Update in March this year, the exact timeline for announcements remains uncertain. However, it is known that the Federal, State, and Territory Governments have committed to responding to the joint recommendations of the Disability Royal Commission’s final report “by mid-2024.” 

This week, a summary report from the Public Consultation on the Australian Government’s response was published. While this Public Consultation Report does not provide much clarity or insights into the Federal Government’s positions or intentions on the various recommendations, it does summarise the feedback gathered during the engagement process from late November 2023 to January 2024. This includes input the government received through written submissions, and an online questionnaire designed to understand stakeholders’ priorities and highlight where there are divergent opinions on the recommendations.

A recap on DANA’s response to the Royal Commission

DANA united with six other Disability Representative Organisations to make a Joint submission with other DROs, making recommendations about leadership, timing, engagement and resources. The Summary Report highlights the strong consensus around key themes of human rights, inclusion and the central role of people with disability in implementation. They also note there was more contestation around the topic that split the Commissioners in some of the recommendations– the future of segregated or ‘special’ settings.

DANA also made our own submission highlighting key priorities around independent disability advocacy, housing and safeguarding.

Let’s take a look at what the Summary Report says about these topics.

Independent disability advocacy

We are pleased to see, though not surprised, that there was support among respondents for additional advocacy funding to address high levels of demand and also for increased funding to First Nations organisations to provide culturally safe disability advocacy. (These are two of the key priorities our submission highlighted and that are driving our ongoing Speak Up campaign.)  The section on the advocacy recommendations (p10) also notes:

A number argue that implementation must ensure improved mechanisms for data collection designed in partnership with independent advocacy organisations, including disability representative organisations, to develop funding arrangements that reflect true community need.

Also noted is input arguing for:  

  • more funding for systemic advocacy;
  • State and Territory governments to share responsibility (with Commonwealth); and
  • funding to be based on organisational independence and community connection.

Elsewhere in the report, there was support for disability advocacy organisations to:

  • help communicate information about wages and the Disability Support Pensions (in the context of supporting transitions to open employment) (p21);
  • support the transition to inclusive housing and provide independent decision-making support and accessible information to assist people to explore housing options (p22); and
  • collaborate to strengthen advocacy referral and access in an NDIS planning context, especially for those living in supported accommodation. (p33)

As DANA highlighted in our submission and previous analysis, advocacy organisations are often uniquely placed to deliver these types of supports with a focus on independence and rights, will and preferences – yet the ability of disability advocates to fulfil these functions effectively relies on government to substantially increase funding allocations to lift the capacity of an overstretched sector. 

We are continuing to campaign for immediate investment in the advocacy sector and also looking to influence funding and policy decisions affecting the sector from July 2025 and beyond. 


As DANA argued recently in the context of the NDIS, current safeguarding systems are failing people with disability. Advocates and advocacy organisations know this too well, often being on the frontline of seeing when things go wrong. They regularly serve as a key point of contact for people who are in closed settings or who otherwise lack a family or social network, or face gatekeeping when attempting to reach into closed settings.  

In our submission to this consultation, we argued that implementing reforms in the area of safeguarding is a high priority, given the frequency and devastating impact of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation evidenced during the DRC.

We identified that when developing more accessible, responsive and effective safeguarding systems, advocacy organisations can offer significant knowledge and assistance. Ensuring that the perspectives and voices of people with disability are centred in this redesign, and that advocacy and representative bodies are properly consulted will be key.

In this summary report, the need for stronger safeguarding, is mentioned in sections considering high risk contexts, including youth detention and Supported Residential Services, boarding houses etc.  

In the context of the NDIS, there was some support for improving:  

  • monitoring of reportable incidents, with a focus on risk and clarity
  • safeguarding practices within providers
  • complaint processes (which DANA had highlighted as a priority)
  • monitoring, compliance and enforcement by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (including through enhanced data and intelligence, engagement and capacity building

Although there was limited engagement during the public consultation on the recommendations about ‘independent oversight and complaint mechanisms’ (outside the NDIS), the summary report reflects general support for:


Housing has been identified by disability advocates as an increasingly urgent issue over the past couple of years as growing numbers of people with disability are reporting they are currently at risk of homelessness. DANA’s submission to this public consultation outlined some key priorities, including for a targeted housing action plan as part of Australia’s Disability Strategy, commitments to accessibility, in all new constructions and in social and public housing, lifting income supports and increasing tenancy protections.

The summary report describes the public consultation confirming a high level of support for developing effective housing and disability policy frameworks. There was general support for improving housing accessibility. The report notes that disability advocacy organisations:

supported recommendations to increase the availability and supply of accessible and adaptive housing and ensure better protection for tenancy and occupancy.

The report identifies some areas of disagreement but overall reflects strong support in the community for many of the DRC recommendations, and presents many priorities potentially competing for immediate government action. Effective co-design with people with disability will need to guide implementation and, as we will keep advocating, this must be resourced by government including through funding for advocacy organisations.  Advocates also have an important role to play in supporting people with disability through times of transition.  

As available, we will share any updates on when the government will formally respond to the DRC or about the progress of the DRC Taskforce at DSS (as they aim to lead integrated reform along with the cross-department DRC Commonwealth Working Group and the DRC Inter-Jurisdictional Committee).

To read the full summary report or access an Easy Read version, click the link below.