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Australian Government Implementation of Article 33 of the CRPD

Human rights
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In Australia, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is incorporated through legislation, policy and programs at federal, and state and territory levels. Implementation of the CRPD is a whole of government responsibility; this means that agencies at federal, state and territory levels play a part in implementing the articles of the CRPD within their portfolios.

In accordance with Article 33(1) of the CRPD, we and the Department of Social Services act as the ‘joint focal point’ within the Australian Government for matters relating to the implementation of the CRPD.

Attorney General’s Department

Within our department, the Human Rights Branch and the Office of International Law (OIL) have carriage of our focal point responsibilities.

We are responsible for Australia’s periodic reporting under the CRPD and appearances before the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is facilitated by the Human Rights Branch. The Human Rights Branch also administers Commonwealth anti-discrimination and human rights legislation, including the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986.

We are also responsible for providing international legal and policy advice to the Australian Government, including in relation to the CRPD. OIL provides international legal advice to the Australian Government and is also responsible for the Australian Government’s response to communications issued under the Optional Protocol to the CRPD. The Human Rights Branch provides policy advice on the domestic implementation of the CRPD where relevant.

Department of Social Services

The Department of Social Services (DSS) is responsible for Australia’s domestic disability policy and, as the joint focal point with our department, provides significant input to matters relating to the implementation of the CRPD.

DSS has the lead role in driving implementation of Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031, working across government and with the disability community. The strategy plays an important role in protecting, promoting and realising the human rights of people with disability and contributes to Australia’s reporting responsibilities under the CRPD.

DSS administers Commonwealth legislation related to delivery of certain supports for people with disability, including the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 and the Disability Services Act 1986.

DSS also administers several Australian Government programs directly related to Article 33:

  • the Supporting Participation by Representatives of People with Disability in Key International Forums on Human Rights Program supports civil society representative participation at the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD in New York each year
  • the Disability Representative Organisation Program provides the capacity for all people, and their representative organisations, to have their views communicated to the government, regardless of type of disability, gender, cultural background, age or membership. This includes systemic advocacy in relation to the protection of the human rights of people with disability and Australia’s implementation of the CRPD
  • the International Day of People with Disability Program seeks to raise awareness and promote inclusive attitudes and behaviours in workplaces, schools and communities across Australia both on the UN observed day held on 3 December each year, and throughout the year.

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