We are First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN) – a national organisation of and for Australia’s First Peoples with disability, their families and communities. Our organisation is governed by First Peoples with lived experience of disability.
We proactively engage with communities around Australia and advocate for the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability in Australia and internationally. We follow the human rights framework established by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which Australia is a signatory, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
First Peoples with disability and their families are amongst the most seriously disadvantaged and disempowered members of the Australian community. We give voice to their needs and concerns and share their narratives of lived experience.
We work for the recognition, respect, protection and fulfilment of the human rights of First Peoples with disability and their families.
We work within a social model of disability, in which we understand ‘disability’ to be the result of barriers to our equal participation in the social and physical environment. These barriers can and must be dismantled. The social model stands in contrast to a medical model of disability, which focuses on diagnosis.
We were born of the efforts of advocates who were working from the early 1980s to bring attention to the specific needs of First Peoples with disability and their families.
Our journey has been long and difficult. Because of the intersection of race and disability, we have had to confront and overcome apathy, neglect and prejudice, both in the general community and in our own communities. That struggle continues.
FPDN was established informally in 2010 and registered as a public company limited by guarantee in 2014. Our founders are the leaders of the Aboriginal disability movement and have been working to uphold the rights of our people since the 1960s.