What we do

The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) is the national voice of people with disability and family organisations in Australia. We work to develop a community where people with disability can participate in all aspects of social, economic, political and cultural life. This includes genuine participation in mainstream community life, the development of respectful and valued relationships, social and economic participation, and the opportunity to contribute as valued citizens.

AFDO is a Disabled Peoples Organisation (DPO)

A DPO is an organisation where the majority of the members as well as the Governing body (Board of Directors) are persons with disability.

AFDO and many of our members are funded by the Australian Government under the Disability Representative Organisations (DRO) program to provide systemic advocacy and representation for Australians with disability.

The Social Model of Disability

As a DPO, we have an understanding of disability in accordance with the social model of disability. The social model of disability looks at ways of removing barriers that restrict life choices for people with disability. When barriers are removed, people with disability can be independent in society, with choice and control over their own lives. Whereas the medical model of disability looks at what is ‘wrong’ with the person and not what the person needs. The medical model creates low expectations and leads to people losing independence, choice and control in their own lives.

The strength of AFDO is in our members!

AFDO is made up of member organisations who work together to contribute to the national policy agenda and address issues that impact the lives of people with disability in Australia. We understand that disability specific organisations play a key role in the provision of information and peer support to people with disability and their families. This role keeps them closely connected to their grass roots communities. Each community has its peak organisation that uses its voice to advocate on issues.

AFDO is the forum where these views are collected and coordinated to ensure Government is across issues impacting all people with disability in Australia.

We are proud to be the organisation that has brought together both cross-disability organisations (representing the interests of people with all kinds of disability), and disability-specific organisations/peaks. We understand that cross-disability groups are only successful when they have access to the specific expertise of disability-specific organisations such as Blind Citizens Australia, Brain Injury Australia, Deaf Australia, Down Syndrome Australia and others, as these disability-specific groups are connected to their communities. We understand that it is imperative that neither the voice of cross-disability groups or disability-specific groups is silenced in favour of the other.

Please note that AFDO does not take on advocacy issues for individuals with a disability or their families/carers. Please follow this link for a list of individual advocacy organisations.

Our current policy priorities

1. Violence, Abuse and Neglect of people with disability

2. Access to Justice

3. People with disability in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

4. Affordable Housing

5. Better Health for people with disability

6. Public Transport

7. Advocacy and Inclusion