Disability and accessibility

What is disability?

Across the NSW public sector workforce, we adopt the social model of disability.

This means rather than being seen as a health condition or a problem of the individual, ‘disability’ is the result of the interaction between people and an environment filled with physical, attitudinal, communication and social barriers.

Disability is defined in the NSW Disability Inclusion Act 2014 to include a long-term physical, psychiatric, intellectual or sensory impairment that, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder the person’s full and effective participation in the community on an equal basis with others. This definition aligns with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.

The social model

Using this social model approach to disability, the focus switches from the individual with a ‘problem’ to the social environment they live in which needs to enable all people to participate in society equally with others.

In this social context, people with disability are not people requiring overprotection – they are people living with impairments who are empowered to be fully participating and equal members of our community through adaptive social environments.

The video below provides an overview of the social model of disability:

Disability at a glance

Our Disability at a glance infographic provides a snapshot of disability representation in the NSW public sector and the experience of people with disability in our workforce, compared to the broader workforce, (based on the results of the 2017 People Matter Employee Survey).  These results give us a benchmark to improve against in the next few years to meet the 5.6% representation target announced by the NSW Government Jobs for People with Disability: A plan for the NSW public sector.


The Public Service Commission acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the land on which our office stands.