International Day of People with Disability

This 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.

Message from the Minister

A brief message from Disability Services Minister Don Punch.

Western Australian theme

This year’s theme for Western Australia is 'My Life, Our Community', which acknowledges that everyone has the right to make decisions for their life. The theme also highlights 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’s happening in Western Australia?

Many activities and events will be held around WA to celebrate IDPwD.

  • A host of community events will also be held, including those sponsored by the Department of Communities. Check out the IDPwD Padlet for listed celebrations:
  • National Disability Services (NDS) WA will host its International Day of People with Disability WA Lunch on Friday 1 December, supported by the Department of Communities. Please visit the NDS event page for details and to register for this event.
  • Key landmarks around the State will be lit up to recognise the day:
    • Fremantle Prison 
    • Fraser Avenue, Kings Park
    • Fountains at Parliament House
    • Mount Street Pedestrian Bridge 
    • Sky Ribbon, Leach Highway
    • Northbridge Tunnel
    • Joondalup Drive Bridge
    • Perth Concert Hall
    • Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
    • Mandurah Estuary Bridge
    • William Grundt Memorial Library and Eastern Goldfields Community Centre, Kalgoorlie
  • Important messages will be projected on the facade of the State Library of Western Australia on 1, 2 and 3 December.
  • Keep an eye on this section to see what’s happening in your area.

Getting involved in IDPwD

There are many ways you can celebrate IDPwD and promote further awareness, acknowledgement,  participation and inclusion of people with disability. Encourage your friends, family, social or sports clubs to hold an event to highlight and celebrate IDPwD.

  • Host a morning or afternoon tea, or ‘snacks and facts’ information session to raise awareness.
  • Watch one of the videos listed in the resources section below or host a ‘watch party’ that showcases stories that are both educational and inspiring.
  • Celebrate International Day of People with Disability in your community. Visit International Day of People with Disability for further resources and information.
  • Access our digital pinboard, where you’re invited to share events you are supporting or organising for IDPwD.
  • A range of resources using the WA theme is now available:

IDPwD 2023 promotional tools

What to watch - resources 

  • 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

Other ways to get involved

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.