People with Disability

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The Australian Government has made a strong commitment to promote disability inclusion within the Australian development program as articulated in the Development for All 2015-2020: Strategy for strengthening disability-inclusive development in Australia’s aid program strategy document. Under the Australian Disability Discrimination Act, disability includes physical, intellectual, psychiatric, sensory, neurological and learning disability, physical disfigurement, and the presence in the body of disease-causing organisms.


Australia Awards uses this description and works within a non-discrimination policy to ensure all are given equal access and opportunity to participate in the award cycle. Reasonable adjustment is put in place to enable persons with disability to participate on an equal basis with other Awardees and Alumni. The disclosure of disability will not disadvantage you in the award process. A Disability Access and Equity Fund is in place to support persons with disability to overcome obstacles to their equitable participation at all stages of the award.



Award pre-mobilisation stage

Applicants with disability are requested to disclose disability on their application form and to provide details of the disability when contacted by Palladium Group staff. The information will be used in organising for the requisite adjustment support.


Examples of the range of support that can be given at this stage:

  • Ensuring interview and Pre-Departure Briefing venues are fully accessible;
  • Services of a sign language interpreter for Awardees with hearing impairments to ensure their equitable participation;
  • Ensuring adequate time and support is given for applicants with speech impairments to express themselves, especially at the interview sessions;
  • Financial support to applicants to attend the interview and/or Pre-Departure Briefing with sighted guides/ carer expenses;
  • Discussion and advise on options for accessing medication in Australia and support networks for those with a chronic illness

On-award support

Australian institutions and training providers are required by law to offer ‘reasonable support’ to students with a disability so that they can access and participate equitably in the learning process. Most Australian institutions have a Disability Support Unit charged with the responsibility of supporting students who disclose as having a disability. Institutions, Student Contact Officers (SCO) in particular, are notified of Awardees who have disclosed a disability and the specific support requirements they will need prior to the Awardee arriving in Australia. The institution then recommends adjustments to the physical and/or learning environments. These are discussed with the Awardee prior to mobilisation after which a support plan is developed. Where funding is required, a Disability Support Agreement is developed as an addendum to the scholarship contract.


Awardees with chronic illness are entitled to adjustment support. They are, however, not funded for surgical procedures nor for medication. The SCO is able to link the Awardee to local support organisations that may be able to offer additional support.


All Awardees with disability and those working in the disability fields are encouraged to engage with disability inclusive development opportunities in Australia. This effort is mainly facilitated by CBM-Nossal, a partner organisation, who keep interested Awardees informed of inclusion events, training and volunteer opportunities they can connect with.


Examples of the type of support offered:

  • Non academic adjustments-Access to and training in the use of screen reading or speech recognition software (e.g. JAWS and dragon software) for people with visual impairment and those with hearing impairment;
  • Assessment and provision of mobility aids and assistive devices such as power/electric wheelchairs or crutches that may be more suited to the Australian environment;
  • Counselling, psychologist and psychiatric support services for Awardees with mental illness or mental health support needs.
  • Academic adjustments-Alternative exam and assessment formats and processes; Additional time for assignments, large print handouts.

Alumni support

Alumni with disability are requested to disclose disability on their event application forms and to provide details of the required support when contacted by Australia Awards staff. All Alumni are encouraged to reflect on how they, as transformative leaders, can promote inclusive practices in their workplace and communities.



Our approach to disability inclusion

Australia Awards Africa follows a human rights model to disability inclusion which states that persons with disability have a right to participate in and access all opportunities in their society like others. Additional information on the Disability Standards for Education can be found at



Links to reference documents:

  1. Mental Health and Wellbeing
  2. Pre-existing Conditions and Overseas Student Health Cover
  3. HIV and Australia Awards

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