The DDA also gives the Federal Government the power to make Disability Standards in particular areas of life, such as education, transportation and access to premises. Disability Standards explain in more detail what rights are protected by the DDA. They also inform organisations, such as schools, about what their obligations are to assist people with disabilities under the DDA.
Disability Standards help us to understand disability discrimination law better.
In August 2005, the Federal Government made Disability Standards in the area of education, known as the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (the ‘Education Standards’). The Education Standards set out the rights of students with disabilities under the DDA in the area of education. They also set out the obligations of education providers such as schools and universities under the DDA to assist students with disabilities.
The main aim of the Education Standards is to give students with disabilities the right to participate in educational courses and programs on the same basis as students without disability. This means a person with disability should have access to the same opportunities and choices in their education that are available to a person without disability.
Sometimes to achieve this aim, the Education Standards require an education provider to make adjustments to allow people with disability to take part in education. For example a hearing loop may need to be installed in a university lecture hall to allow people who have a hearing loss to access the lecture. However, adjustments must be reasonable and they must not be too difficult for the education provider to carry out. The Education Standards give guidance as to whether an adjustment is reasonable, or whether it would be too difficult to carry out. Education providers and students can use Education Standards as a guide to talk about what adjustments are required and reasonable in their particular circumstances.
A person with disability can make a formal complaint to AHRC if an education provider does not carry out its obligations under the Education Standards.