National disability data to flow from next year

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

A disability data hub with de-identified information shared from state and federal government agencies will be up and running next year and fully operational by 2026, half a decade after it was proposed by disability ministers.

The federal government on Friday announced that all states and territories have now committed to take part in the National Disability Data Asset (NDDA) and that it had committed a total of $68.3 million to deliver it.

The data set will include information on people with a disability relating to employment, health, education and the support services that are accessed. It is expected to be used by researchers, policy makers and service delivery agencies, and inform government funding decisions.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth. Image: Twitter

“With the agreement of all jurisdictions to share data, all governments can now begin the exciting work of building the National Disability Data Asset,” Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said.

“By bringing together data from across Australia, we can build a more complete picture of the life experiences of Australians with disability and gain a richer understanding of their specific needs and goals.

“We will have a strong national evidence base that will inform smarter policy, better services and supports, and improved outcomes in areas like employment, health and education. The lives of people with disability will be improved by this asset.”

All states and territories have committed to take part in the NDDA, which was first planned at an Australian Digital Council meeting of ministers in 2019 and piloted in 2020.

Pilots have covered areas like the impacts of early support programs, encounters with the justice system, housing, and access to education.

In the housing pilot, the data asset showed nearly half (48 per cent) of public housing tenants were identified as living with a disability. This compares with just over a quarter (27 per cent) of tenants being identified as living with a disability when only state government public housing information was used.

A review of the pilots found participants had expressed strong conditional support for the NDDA. The main condition being meaningful involvement of people with disability in the asset’s design, governance and operation.

“People with disability will always be at the centre of policy our government makes in this space and this asset will help us to deliver outcomes for them – but importantly – with them too,” Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill Shorten said.

“People with disability have been integral in the design of the asset and it will be governed in partnership with the disability community. This is really important work and will revolutionise the way we support Australians with disability.”

The Commonwealth funded the pilot phase with $15 million in 2020, which was led by New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland.

When Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031 was launched in late 2021, the government committed another $40 million to the NDDA alongside a wider whole-of-economy data strategy.

The Albanese government committed to consider continuing support for the NDDA during last year’s election and on Friday announced the government’s total commitment is now $68.3 million for the analysis, research and delivery of the NDDA.

This includes of up to $1.36 million for each state and territory government for their role in delivering data, to flow after bilateral agreements are signed. All governments have already committed to take part.

“With the agreement of all jurisdictions to share data, all governments can now begin the exciting work of building the National Disability Data Asset,” Ms Rishworth said.

The first results from the NDDA will be available next year, ahead of a full operation in 2026.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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