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Australian governments fund a range of disability support services under the National Disability Agreement (NDA) and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). These services are intended to improve the lives of people with disability, and their carers, and ensure that they have the opportunity to participate in the community.
Data on the services provided under the NDA are collected in the Disability Services National Minimum Data Set (DS NMDS) .
A snapshot of the latest statistics on disability support service users from the DS NMDS is provided below.
In 2011–12, around 317,600 people received disability support services, an increase of 29% since 2007–08.
People may use services from more than one service group. Forty-three per cent of people who used disability support services used ‘Community support’ services to help them live in a non-institutional setting. This and employment services (42%) were the most common service groups used.
More than half (59%) of all service users in 2011–12 were male, and 41% were female. These proportions have remained fairly stable since at least 2007–08.
Nearly one third of disability support service users were aged 25–44 (30%), 27% were aged 45–64, and 24% were aged 0–17. The age distribution of service users has remained relatively stable over time, at an average age of around 34 years since 2007–08.
Intellectual disability is the most common disability among specialist disability service users, at one-third (33%) of all services users in 2011–12. However the relative proportion has been decreasing in recent years, compared with physical and psychiatric disability.
(for more information on service users with a psychiatric disability, see Mental health services in Australia).
Most service users required at least some assistance with the activities of daily living (52%), activities of independent living (61%) and activities in work, education and community living (57%).
Around 16,900 disability support service users, or 6% of all service users in 2011–12, were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people. Of Indigenous service users in 2011–12:
The majority of disability support service users were born in Australia (87%), 9% were born in a predominantly non-English speaking country and 4% in a predominantly English-speaking country. The proportion of Australian-born service users was higher than the proportion of those who were Australian-born in the overall population (73%).
The proportions of Australian-born and overseas-born service users have remained relatively steady over time, with a slight decrease in Australian-born service users and a slight increase in those born in a predominantly non-English-speaking country.
Disability support services: services provided under the National Disability Agreement 2011-12
DS NMDS data cubes