Australia's Disability Royal Commission has issued its final report, presenting 222 recommendations for transformative change.

The report, tabled in federal parliament on Friday, marks the culmination of an extensive investigation that began in 2019, featuring 32 public hearings and extensive public input.

One of the most significant recommendations is a phased elimination of segregated education by the year 2051. 

This recommendation is emblematic of the commission's aim to rectify a long-standing “history of exclusion” that has shaped the lives of individuals with disabilities. The commissioners were divided 3-3 on this particular proposal.

Additionally, the report calls for the establishment of a federal minister for disability inclusion, the creation of a disability rights act, amendments to guardianship legislation, improved data collection, and the setting of specific disability employment targets in the public sector.

The commissioners emphasised the importance of social transformation for inclusivity, enabling individuals with disabilities to fully participate in society.

Disability advocates, who championed the commission's formation for many years, have eagerly awaited the report's release.

The extensive report spans 12 volumes and includes a 356-page executive summary. Throughout its development, the commission received 7,944 submissions, handled 17,824 phone inquiries, published 14 issues papers, received 710 responses to these papers, and conducted 1,785 private sessions.

Among the key recommendations is the establishment of a Disability Rights Act, following the principles outlined in the UN's Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

Additionally, the report calls for a new national disability agreement and strengthening the Disability Discrimination Act.

The proposed Disability Rights Act would grant people with disabilities rights that include non-discrimination, equality before the law, equal recognition before the law, freedom from violence and abuse, liberty, security of person, and equitable access to health services.

The commission also advocates for a scheme to ensure that employees with disabilities are paid at least half the minimum wage, with the goal of reaching full minimum wage by 2034. 

This recommendation stems from findings that individuals with disabilities were often earning as little as $2.27 per hour for tasks such as packing, cleaning, and gardening.

Regarding education, three commissioners recommend phasing out special schools, citing their segregative nature and the negative educational experiences they create. 

They urge federal and state governments to develop comprehensive roadmaps for this transition, emphasising the importance of inclusive education. Their recommendation also calls for a halt on creating new segregated schools or classes from 2025.

However, not all commissioners share this view, with some suggesting it is unnecessary to phase out non-mainstream schools to promote inclusive education. 

Despite this, all commissioners unanimously support the idea that individuals with disabilities should only work in Australian disability enterprises if it is their voluntary choice.

The full report is accessible here.