Media Release by Senator the Hon Anne Ruston

Increased support for Disability Royal Commission

The Morrison Government has today announced the organisations successful in securing funding for free and independent support services for people engaging with the Disability Royal Commission.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said almost $140 million would be invested in advocacy and counselling support, as well as legal assistance services.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to access support if they choose to participate in the Disability Royal Commission at any point over the next three years,” Minister Ruston said. 

“This funding includes $7.35 million for key disability representative organisations to address systemic barriers for people affected by the Disability Royal Commission.

“Ten state-based counselling organisations will also receive $27.70 million over three years to deliver in-person counselling, for those who need more support.” 

Counselling and advocacy providers are attending a workshop in Melbourne today to discuss supports for people engaging with the Disability Royal Commission. 

“It is encouraging to see service providers working together to ensure people get the support they need,” Minister Ruston said.

“We are also currently looking at ways to strengthen supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability and their communities.”

The National Counselling and Referral Service established recently by Blue Knot Foundation has already received over 300 calls.

Blue Knot Foundation president Dr Cathy Kezelman AM said it was encouraging that people were accessing the free, independent and trauma-informed supports. 

“Making a decision to tell your story for a formal inquiry can be daunting so discussing your personal situation with an experienced practitioner or asking them to connect you with the right services is a great first step in the process.” Dr Kezelman said. 

Disability Advocacy Network Australia chief executive Mary Mallett said all providers agree they must work together to make sure supports are as seamless as possible. 

“Whether you are an advocate, a counsellor or a legal representative, we all want the same thing and that’s to ensure maximum accessibility for people with disability who want to engage with this process,” Ms Mallett said.

For counselling support or to be referred to other support services, contact the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm AEDT Saturday to Sunday 9am to 5pm AEDT. 

Interpreters are available for support in other languages when contacting the service. 

People who are deaf, hard of hearing and/or have a speech impairment can contact the service through the National Relay Service (NRS) on 133 677.

National providers

•    Blue Knot Foundation

Systemic advocacy
•    Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA)
•    National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA)
•    People with Disability Australia (PWDA)
•    Women with Disability Australia (WWDA)
•    First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN)
•    Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO)
•    Inclusion Australia
•    Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA)

State and Territory providers


Advocacy (NDAP)


Australian Capital Territory

  • ACT Disability Aged and Carer Advocacy Service
  • Advocacy for Inclusion Inc.
  • Relationships Australia Canberra and Region

New South Wales

  • Disability Advocacy NSW
  • Illawarra Advocacy Inc.
  • Intellectual Disability Rights Service Inc.
  • Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association of New South Wales Inc.
  • Newell Advocacy Inc.
  • Self Advocacy (Sydney) Inc.
  • Regional Disability Advocacy Service Ltd
  • Side By Side Advocacy Inc.
  • Sydney Region Aboriginal Corporation
  • Family Advocacy
  • People with Disability Australia Ltd
  • Relationships Australia New South Wales
  • Interrelate Limited

Northern Territory

  • Darwin Community Legal Service Inc.
  • Disability Advocacy Service Inc.
  • Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council Aboriginal Corp
  • Relationships Australia Northern Territory


  • Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia
  • Independent Advocacy in North Queensland Inc
  • Mackay Advocacy Inc.
  • People with Disability Australia Ltd
  • Queensland Advocacy Inc.
  • Rights In Action Inc.
  • Speaking Up For You Inc.
  • TASC National Limited
  • Micah Projects

South Australia

  • Advocacy for Disability Access and Inclusion Inc.
  • Disability Advocacy and Complaints Service of South Australia Inc.
  • Disability Rights Advocacy Service Inc.
  • Independent Advocacy SA Inc.
  • Relationships Australia South Australia


  • Advocacy Tasmania Inc.
  • Speak Out Association of Tasmania Inc.
  • Relationships Australia Tasmania


  • Action for More Independence and Dignity in Accommodation Inc.
  • Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities Inc.
  • Association of Employees with Disability Inc.
  • Colac Otway Region Advocacy Service
  • Disability Justice Australia Inc.
  • Gippsland Disability Advocacy Inc.
  • Grampians disAbility Advocacy Association Inc.
  • Leadership Plus Inc.
  • Melbourne East Disability Advocacy Inc.
  • North East Citizen Advocacy Inc.
  • Rights Information and Advocacy Centre Inc.
  • Southern Disability Advocacy Inc.
  • Southwest Advocacy Association Inc.
  • Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council Inc.
  • Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service Inc.
  • Regional Disability Advocacy Service Ltd.
  • Relationships Australia Victoria
  • Drummond Street Services

Western Australia

  • Advocacy WA Inc.
  • Ethnic Disability Advocacy Centre Inc.
  • Midland Information, Debt & Legal Advocacy Service Inc.
  • People With Disabilities (W.A.)
  • Sussex Street Community Law Service
  • Relationships Australia Western Australia