International Day of People with Disability

Let’s work together to build a Western Australia for everyone.

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International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is a United Nations observed day celebrated throughout the world each year on 3 December. The day aims to increase public awareness, understanding and recognition of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

IDPwD offers an opportunity for individuals and the community the make positive changes to the lives of the 411,500 Western Australians with disability.

Western Australian theme

Western Australia’s theme for 2023 was 'My Life, Our Community', which acknowledged that everyone has the right to make decisions for their life. The theme also highlighted the value and importance of everyone having the opportunity to be involved and play an active role within their community.

We all have a role to play in creating an inclusive community. Disability is not a barrier to living full, independent lives where people can reach their full potential. Everyone should be able to participate fully, safely and free from prejudice in everyday life.

A Western Australia for Everyone: State Disability Strategy 2020-2030 reinforces a whole of community commitment to supporting people with disability and sets the foundation for building a more inclusive Western Australia.

Did you know?

Based on data presented in the State Disability Strategy 2020-2030 (the Strategy):

  • 1 in 5 people in Australia have a disability, which is around 4.4 million people.
  • 1 in 5 or 411,500 Western Australians have a disability.
  • 2 in 5 people with disability are aged 65 years or older.
  • The unemployment rate for people with disability is more than double that for people without disability.
  • 1 in 10 adults with disability have experienced discrimination in the past 12 months.
  • The social participation rate for people with disability is 59 per cent, compared to 85 per cent for people without.
  • 1 in 4 people with disability over the age of 5 have difficulty using public transport.


What to watch

The following resources offer an insight into the contributions people with disability, their families and carers and the organisations that support them make to Western Australia.

  • The Lives we Lead - this project aims to influence the community to better understand the contributions that people with disability are making economically, socially, culturally and politically. It features stories of people with disability living independently and contributing to their community.
  • Different Lens - this initiative provides a fascinating insight into what life is like for 13 Western Australians living with disability and looks to break down stereotypes and stigmas related to Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s Disease, acquired brain injuries, intellectual disabilities, spinal cord injuries and autism. Here are two of the 13 stories:
  • Healthy Food for All Abilities - Foodbank WA runs the ‘Healthy Food for All Abilities’ initiative, funded by the Department of Communities. It is a free healthy eating and cooking program with classes tailored to suit people with disability and their support workers. Participants build their nutritional knowledge over four weekly sessions led by university qualified nutritionists.
  • You Can’t Ask That
    You Can’t Ask That is an ABC series of episodes that asks some challenging questions to uncover the truth behind what it's like for marginalised and misunderstood Australians. Registration is required but free to watch:

National resources

International resources

Increase your understanding and awareness of disability

Increase your understating and awareness of disability.


Undertake Disability Awareness Training, available via the following:

Learn Australian Sign Language (Auslan)

Some basic signs are available for you to watch and practice from the following videos:

Alternatively, beginner community Auslan classes are available through Deaf Connect.

Using respectful communication

Respectful communication is based on the use of inclusive and non-discriminatory language which helps to avoid assumptions and misunderstandings and promotes respectful relationships.


Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and find common ground.