Skip to main content

The National Disability Footprint has been designed by First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) to strengthen the representation of First Peoples with disability across all policy areas to ensure their needs, expectations and priorities are responded to. It has been specifically developed to align with Investment Priority Reform Two under the National Agreement on Closing the GapBuilding strong formal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled service sectors. It has seven elements as listed below. The structure of the National Disability Footprint will ensure visibility, representation and meaningful engagement, training and systemic advocacy, nationally and in each state and territory.

The National Disability Footprint – 7 elements

FPDN is delivering the Elements under the National Disability Footprint to increase its capacity to improve systems and processes for First Peoples with disability through national engagement with governments, service providers, educators and First Peoples with disability and their communities.

Rolling out activities under the seven Elements of the National Disability Footprint will support achievement of the following outcomes:

  • Meeting objectives of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap Priority Reforms
  • Meeting outcomes of the National Disability Outcomes Framework
  • Building on the work of FPDN as the National Peak
  • Creating attitudinal change
  • Empowering First Peoples with disability
  • Increasing employment for First Peoples with disability


The following guiding principles set a minimum standard for all existing and future work with First Peoples with disabilities and will be used by FPDN as the foundation principles for the Footprint project:

  1. Human rights
  2. Self-determination
  3. Cultural integrity
  4. Cultural safety
  5. Partnership
  6. Place-based
  7. Innovation
  8. Empowerment
  9. Equity
  10. Sustainability
  11. Knowledge
  12. Nationally consistent approach

The 4 Pillars of The National Disability Footprint

These four ‘pillars’ were designed by FPDN and endorsed by the Coalition of Peaks. The design of these priority areas is based upon 20 years of experience and the expertise of First Peoples with disability themselves and inform the design of the National Disability Footprint

The 7 Elements of the National Disability Footprint

The seven Elements that comprise the National Disability Footprint will build on the capacity of FPDN as a peak organisation, to deliver activities that directly address the targets in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. FPDN’s approach recognises that by fundamentally shifting the service system to be responsive, appropriate and enabling for First Peoples with disability, and by elevating First Peoples with disability to be central in decision making forums across community and governments, change can be accelerated across life outcomes, from education and employment to the protection and safety of women and children, and the health and wellbeing of the community, ultimately aiming to improve life outcomes for First Peoples with disability by shifting the attitudes, systems and structures that currently hold them in disadvantage.

Element 1

Strengthening FPDN’s National Disability Footprint

Build the capacity of FPDN as the national disability Peak Body to influence policy and build the sector at national and jurisdictional levels.

Element 2

Data & Research

Enable access to data improving decisions and developing quality in disability programs and policies and supporting First Peoples’ Community-Controlled Organisations.

Element 3

Strengthening the Policy Representation Footprint

Changing policy and program settings to enable greater inclusion and access to services and systems for First Peoples with disabilities. Provide FPDN with greater capacity to inform legislation, policies, programs and systems across the key sectors that impact the lives of First Peoples with disabilities, and to address disproportionate outcomes.

Element 4

Strengthening a Culturally and Disability Inclusive Workforce and Training Footprint

Supporting sectoral capacity building and attitudinal changei dentifying the capabilities required in the community-controlled disability sector, developing a national training strategy that will lead to First Peoples with disabilities receiving more inclusive, accessible and appropriate supports.

Element 5

Strengthening Community Disability Rights Footprint

Training and community engagement to enhance First People’s understanding of their rights and foster the skills required to seek out and access the services they require.

Element 6


Accountability, transparency, and continuous improvement.

Element 7

Communications Strategy

Work towards creating attitudinal change including repositioning service delivery from a medical to a social and cultural model of disability.

Our commitment to First Peoples living with disabilities, their families and communities

Through the work of the National Disability Footprint, FPDN are committed to the following outcomes:

  1. The First Nations community-controlled sector is supported by FPDN
  2. The voices of First Peoples with disabilities inform policy, practice and service delivery
  3. FPDN has an enhanced policy footprint
  4. FPDN has an increased national and jurisdictional presence
  5. The objectives of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap Priority Reforms are being met
  6. The National Disability Outcomes Framework outcomes are being met
  7. The National Disability Footprint project has built on the work of FPDN as the National Peak
  8. Attitudinal change is occurring across the sector
  9. First Peoples with disabilities are being empowered, and
  10. Employment for First Peoples with disabilities is increasing.