Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians experience higher rates of disability than other Australians. After considering age differences between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, the rate of disability among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is almost twice as high as that among non-Indigenous people[i].
When engaging with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, specific acknowledgement and understanding of relationship with Country, local customs, history, disempowerment and current relationships should arise from deep engagement with traditional custodians to ensure consultation is done well. Recognising that English may be a second or third language for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is also important. Know what country you are meeting on and ensure you acknowledge the traditional custodians and pay respect to Aboriginal peoples as the State’s first people and to their traditional relationship with Country.
It is important to build relationships and work in partnership with the Aboriginal community, including the Aboriginal community-controlled sector, Aboriginal organisations and local community groups. Working with established networks will allow your consultation to reach a greater audience and help develop ongoing trust and relationships.
Translation and interpretation
Consider if Aboriginal translation or interpreters are required. View the South Australian Aboriginal Languages Interpreters and Translators Guide provided by Attorney-General's Department.
NDIS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Strategy
The NDIA's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Strategy (PDF 3.2MB). draws upon the existing strengths and features of rural and remote communities, along with engaging in the ‘proper way’ with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are key components.
The strategy focuses on enabling quality engagement, service delivery and leadership to ensure the successful delivery of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia. The strategy may provide useful information to consider when engaging with Aboriginal people with disability.
Resources on engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- First Peoples Disability Network - Network for Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability
- Cultural Inclusion Framework (Department of the Premier and Cabinet)
- The Right Track webinar series and toolkit for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples working with the NDIS (City of Playford)
- South Australian Aboriginal Languages Interpreters and Translators Guide (Attorney-General's Department)
- Aboriginal health and wellbeing websites (SA Health)
- First Nations engagement principles (Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability).
- Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families and Children toolki (Emerging Minds).
[i] Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 4704.0 – The Health and Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Commonwealth of Australia, 2008.