Image of a couple's feet sticking out from the covers in bed and a wheelchair parked alongside.

More than 40 disability organisations across Australia have endorsed a Joint Position Statement from the Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) Australia, which calls on the NDIA “to develop a comprehensive sexuality policy to continue reasonable and necessary support for sexual expression through NDIS funding”. 

Organisations endorsing the Joint Statement include PWDA, Family Planning NSW, ACON, Northcott, Physical Disability Council of NSW, Queensland Advocacy, Sex Workers Outreach Project Inc., Working it Out (Tasmania) and Women with Disabilities ACT.

The NDIS was launched in small trial sites back in July 2013 and has since been progressively rolled out across the country. The NDIS is a person-centred approach to disability care and support, where eligible participants receive direct funding from the Government to pay for care, supports, aids and equipment to help them manage their disability. Everyone who needs the NDIS will have access by 2020.

"Previously, state-based disability financial support systems allowed for people with disability to access sexual services according to their individual needs and goals. Our sexual autonomy was supported through clear policy and procedures." - From the Joint Position Statement

When the NDIS was launched, ministers and policymakers promised that “no one would be worse off” under the NDIS.

The consortium of disability organisations is concerned that Australians with disability are in fact worse off under the scheme, due to lack of adequate sexuality policy. Sexuality is an important aspect of overall physical and mental wellbeing, and people with disability have a right to express their sexuality and experience sex as life goals. The Joint Statement warns that NDIS participants are being denied their rights under the UNCRPD as a result of the omission of proper sexuality policy in the NDIS.

"We [people with disability] were not meant to be worse off under the NDIS but this is one area where we are." - Joint Position Statement

In July, the Minister for the NDIS, Stuart Robert MP, said the NDIA would appeal the Administrative Appeals Tribunal’s decision to fund sexual therapy services for a participant of the scheme with MS (multiple sclerosis).

“The current position continues to be that the NDIS does not cover sexual services, sexual therapy or sex workers in a participant’s NDIS plan. These services are not in line with community expectations of what are reasonable and necessary supports.” – Minister for NDIS, Stuart Robert MP.


Information sourced from 

The Guardian
DPO Australia