Australia voices a strong commitment to make it easier for people with disability to fully participate in all aspects of our society.


In a competitive environment, equitable inclusion of people with disabilities makes good business sense and better reflects the communities we live in.

Truly inclusive organisations have access to approximately two million Australians of working age with disability.

Studies also show that as many as 83% of customers with a disability walk away from inaccessible products and services – that’s more than 3.4 million potential customers.

But, how do Australian businesses rate when it comes to providing their customers and employees with a fully inclusive and accessible experience?

Available for the first-time in Australia, the Australian Network on Disability has launched an innovative suite of management tools, the Access and Inclusion Index, to help organisations understand, assess, benchmark and improve their disability confidence.

The tool encourages organisations to improve their performance by providing them with a simple way to measure how accessible and inclusive their current business practices are. It is designed to be shared across business areas and uses a maturity model scale.

When complete, the index score indicates the overall disability confidence. The calculation was developed and validated with the Centre for Workplace Leadership.

There are three main parts to the Access and Inclusion Index:  

  1. A ten-question self-assessment. The Access and Inclusion Index quick self-assessment is open to anyone and free to try.
  2. A comprehensive self-assessment. This is available to organisations who are members of the Australian Network on Disability. It provides a score for current performance and gives practical examples about how to improve.
  3. A detailed evaluation and benchmarking report. Once an organisation has completed the comprehensive self-assessment, they can request an evaluation and benchmarking report. This identifies their strengths and weaknesses and provides tailored recommendations for improvement.

It enables organisations to measure their performance in relation to other (de-identified) participating organisations.

It is important to note that information about participating member’s scores are confidential and will not be shared externally.

The prevalence of disability increases with age. 31% of 55-64 year olds are living with disability and almost nine in ten people aged 90 and above (88%) have a disability.

In addition, 39% of complaints lodged with Australian Human Rights Commission are against businesses and related to disability.

With Australia’s ageing workforce[1], it is vitally important for businesses to think strategically about access and inclusion for people with disability.

The Access and Inclusion Index is based on the world-renowned Disability Standard designed by the UK Business Disability Forum (BDF), used annually by hundreds of businesses to assess their company’s whole organisational approach to disability. Since its introduction in 2004, BDF indicates that UK businesses have made significant improvements for customers and employees with disability.

To develop the Australian tool, the Australian Network on Disability worked closely with development partners, the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), the Department of Defence, IBM and Westpac Group as well as the Centre for Workplace Leadership at The University of Melbourne to adapt the Disability Standard to local conditions.

To take part, it is recommended that businesses register by the 31 October 2016. The Index will remain open to 31 December 2016.

To find out more about membership to the Australian Network on Disability, visit or call 02 8270 9200 or to learn more about the Access and Inclusion Index visit

About the Australian Network on Disability

The Australian Network on Disability is a not for profit organisation resourced by its members to take a leadership role in advancing the equitable inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of business.

AND assists member organisations to understand the business benefits of employing people with disability and welcoming customers with disability.

Through the delivery of innovative products and services, AND assists organisations to build skills and confidence to assist them to welcome people with disability as employees, customers and stakeholders.