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Disability Royal Commission end of year progress report and calendar for 2020

The Royal Commission has released a schedule of events (external website, opens in external window/tab) including public hearings and community engagement activities for the first half of 2020.

Upcoming hearings will be held in western Sydney and two will be held in Brisbane. The hearings will investigate health, education and justice.

Community engagement activities will be held in Logan and Ipswich in February, Launceston and Burnie in March, regional Victoria in April and Brisbane in May.

Engagement activities with First Nations people and organisations, throughout the first half of the year will culminate in a hearing in the Northern Territory that will focus on the experiences if First Nations people with disability.

The Royal Commission has also released its first progress report (external website, opens in external window/tab). Since it was established in April 2019, the Royal Commission has:

  • Held two public hearings into inclusive education and accommodation, including group homes
  • Held nine stakeholder and advocacy workshops across Australia
  • Held six community forums in Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia
  • Received more than 360 submissions from individuals and organisations
  • Received more than 2000 phone enquires through its national hotline
  • Released three issues papers on key areas of investigation
  • Published its Accessibility and Inclusion Strategy (external website, opens in external window/tab)

In 2020, the Royal Commission will continue to release issues papers on key areas of investigation and present its Interim Report to the Australian Government in October 2020.

Next hearing – western Sydney

The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park Hotel, commencing 17 February 2020, for a period of up to two weeks. The hearing will be the start of the Royal Commission's examination of issues relating to the provision of health care to people with disability.

This hearing will be looking more specifically at the provision of health care or services for people with cognitive disability, including people with intellectual disability, autism and acquired brain injuries.

While this hearing is not limited to any particular State or Territory, it will examine, in particular, at the health system in New South Wales and 'promising practices' in the provision of health care or services to people with cognitive disability.

The issues that the hearing will explore include:

  1. barriers faced by people with cognitive disability when accessing and receiving health care and services, including barriers to communication and health professionals' attitudes, values and assumptions
  2. training and education of health professionals with respect to patients with cognitive disability
  3. delayed diagnoses and misdiagnoses of people with cognitive disability
  4. life expectancy of people with cognitive disability (particularly people with intellectual disability and people with autism)
  5. specific issues for First Nations people with cognitive disability with respect to health care and services.

Anyone wishing to provide information to the Royal Commission relating to the subject of the hearing or any other matter within the Royal Commission's Terms of Reference can make a submission, as set out on our website.

The Royal Commission has also released an issues paper on health care for people with cognitive disability (external website, opens in external window/tab), which is available on our website. Individuals and organisations who wish to respond to that issues paper are encouraged to do so.

Issues Papers

The Royal Commission is currently asking for feedback on three issues papers (external website, opens in external window/tab). One on education (external website, opens in external window/tab) , one on group homes (external website, opens in external window/tab) and one on health care for people with cognitive disability (external website, opens in external window/tab) . The papers are available in Easy Read, PDF and DOCX. Auslan videos for the education and group homes papers are also available and the video for the health issues paper will be available in January.

For more information on issues papers (external website, opens in external window/tab) including how to provide a response, check out our website.

Christmas opening hours and availability of services

Our hotline will be closed from 6.00pm AEDT, Tuesday 24 December 2019 and will reopen on Thursday 2 January 2020.

Free counselling support from Blue Knot Foundation will be available over the holiday period for people with disability, their families and supporters, and anyone affected by the Disability Royal Commission. Call the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468 or 02 6146 1468 to find:

  • support for your emotional wellbeing
  • support for making choices about telling your story
  • information on other practical supports available to you.

The service operates 9:00am to 6:00pm weekdays and 9:00am to 5:00pm weekends and public holidays (AEDT), including Christmas Day.

Information about accessing the free counselling service, including how to use the National Relay Service and the free Translating and Interpreting Service (external website, opens in external window/tab) is on our website.

You can also contact:

New website coming early 2020

The Royal Commission is in the final stages of developing a new website. User and accessibility testing is scheduled for early January. As part of the website update, all content has been revised and we will be releasing a new, easier to use submissions form. We are expecting to relaunch the website by the end of January.