Need for an Australian Indigenous disability workforce strategy

review of the literature

John Gilroy, Angela Dew, Michelle Lincoln, Monique Hines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To identify approaches for developing workforce capacity to deliver the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to Indigenous people with disability in Australian rural and remote communities. Method: A narrative review of peer-reviewed and gray literature was undertaken. Searches of electronic databases and websites of key government and non-government organizations were used to supplement the authors’ knowledge of literature that (a) focused on Indigenous peoples in Australia or other countries; (b) referred to people with disability; (c) considered rural/remote settings; (d) recommended workforce strategies; and (e) was published in English between 2004 and 2014. Recommended workforce strategies in each publication were summarized in a narrative synthesis. Results: Six peer-reviewed articles and 12 gray publications met inclusion criteria. Three broad categories of workforce strategies were identified: (a) community-based rehabilitation (CBR) and community-centered approaches; (b) cultural training for all workers; and (c) development of an Indigenous disability workforce. Conclusion: An Indigenous disability workforce strategy based on community-centered principles and incorporating cultural training and Indigenous disability workforce development may help to ensure that Indigenous people with a disability in rural and remote communities benefit from current disability sector reforms. Indigenous workforce development requires strategies to attract and retain Aboriginal workers.Implications for Rehabilitation Indigenous people with disability living in rural and remote areas experience significant access and equity barriers to culturally appropriate supports and services that enable them to live independent, socially inclusive lives. A workforce strategy based on community-centered principles has potential for ensuring that the disability services sector meets the rehabilitation needs of Aboriginal people with disability living in rural and remote areas. Cultural training and development of an Indigenous disability workforce may help to ensure a culturally safe disability services sector and workforce.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1664-1673
Number of pages10
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


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