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AASW’s Policy Position on Disability

Teacher and student with wheelchair in backgroundDisability represents the larger and more complex interaction between an individual with impairment and the structures and processes of society. It is not ‘physical, cognitive or sensory impairments that cause disability, but rather the way in which societies fail to accommodate natural aspects of difference between people’. Therefore, social workers adopt a person-in-environment approach that includes a focus on the structural and cultural factors that may negatively impact on an individual’s ability to engage with the social world.

The social work profession is committed to maximising the wellbeing of individuals, families, groups, communities and society. We consider that individual and societal wellbeing is underpinned by socially inclusive communities that emphasise principles of social justice and respect for human dignity and human rights. These values are in complete accord with the disability advocacy movement and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which both inform the NDIS (AASW, 2016).

Submissions in progress:

Position Statements

Policy Submissions



September 2020

Submission to Support Coordination Discussion Paper

July 2020 Covid 19 Inquiry Submission
July 2020 Submission to Select Committee on Autism
July 2020

Inquiry into the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission

April 2020 Submission to the NDIS Workforce Inquiry

September 2019

Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS Re: NDIS Planning

May 2019

Submission to NDIS Thin Markets Project

March 2018

Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS Re: Market Readiness

September 2017 Submission to NDIS Independent Pricing Review

April 2016

Submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Re: Indefinite detention of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment in Australia

October 2015

Submission from the Australian Association of Social Workers to the Independent Review of the National Disability Insurance Act 2013

August 2015

July 2015

Submission on the National Disability Advocacy Framework

March 2015

Submission to the National Disability Insurance Scheme Information, Linkages, & Capacity Building, (ILC) Policy Framework

Media Releases

Other relevant documents



March 2016

Scope of Social Work Practice: Social Work in Disability

October 2014

Communication with Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield. The AASW wrote to the Senator seeking clarification in relation to the provision of psychosocial and other services to people with severe mental illness or disorder who may not be eligible for the NDIS.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers