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A case study on disability services in Australia

Helping disabled Indigenous people in Australia

Australia has long struggled with an uneven distribution of primary health care services. Urban residents experience greater access to primary health care, despite the fact that rural and remote residents generally experience poorer health than their urban counterparts.

The Australian landscape for disability services is undergoing dramatic change. This service system is moving from the government funding of NGOs to deliver services; to government providing funding directly to disabled Australians, who will then have complete choice and control over their own care options.


There are many communities across Australia, particularly in remote areas, where services were not readily available for people with disabilities. This was particularly prevalent in small rural and discrete remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was launched by the government in July 2013 to address an urgent need to reform of disability services in Australia. The NDIS is a new way of providing individualised support for eligible people with permanent and significant disability, their families and carers.1 The Department of Communities wanted to help people particularly in remote areas to take advantage of this new model.


The Toolkit contains a series of brochures, checklists, tools and frameworks designed to provide system participants with information to increase their readiness for this system change; and to enable them to become active, informed participants in the NDIS.

What did we do?

PwC’s Indigenous Consulting (PIC) is a new, national Indigenous consulting business that is 49% owned by the PwC Australia Firm, and 51% owned by Indigenous Australians. The unique power of PIC is the combination of Indigenous expertise, experience and knowledge, with PwC’s world-leading consulting capability.

PwC/PIC were asked to consult across six communities to establish what support already existed for people with a disability; what the challenges and barriers to receiving services currently were; and what they would be under the new NDIS model.

We were also tasked to develop a Toolkit to support these communities to build capacity, using non-conventional disability services.

What impact did we make?

The impact of our work has been to:

  • Identify to State and Federal governments the issues with, among other things, getting accurate and timely information through to regional, remote and discrete communities and system participants
  • Provide a framework for how government can meaningfully engage with these communities, and particularly how they can co-design solutions with clients
  • Build the awareness of communities around how they can play a role in the new NDIS
  • Bring an innovation lens to remote service delivery that can leverage off new technology (eg. sharing economy applications) to catalyse latent community capacity
  • Provide all NDIS stakeholders with a sense of how the new system will hit the ground in their environment

Contact us

Gavin Brown

Principal, PwC PIC Australia

Tel: +61 (7) 3257 5648

Angi Bissell

Senior Manager, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 (7) 3257 5013