Fact Sheets

Fact Sheet 1: People from NESB with Disability

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One Million PeoplE

One in every four people with disability is a person of either first or second generation Non-English Speaking Background (NESB), representing approximately 1 million people across Australia.


People from NESB with disability do not have equal access to services. For example people born in non-English speaking countries with disability are less likely to access support services than people with disability born in English speaking countries. Poor access to services, education and employment opportunities means isolation and marginalisation for many people from NESB with disability, their families and carers.


The interests of all people in society are best served by establishing equal rights and opportunities for people from NESB with disability, their families and carers. This means building understanding and respect for cultural diversity at individual and systemic levels. .


Ethnicity and disability should not be barriers to participation

 The proportion of people born in a non-English speaking country who use Commonwealth State and Territory funded accommodation support and employment services is lower than the proportion of people born in an English speaking country who use these services.

Source: Productivity Commission, Report on Government Services 2007.

Graph Factsheet1


  • provide accessible information informing people from NESB with disability of their rights, entitlements, essential services and support structures available;
  • commit to culturally competent service provision in mainstream and specialist services;
  • provide interpreters and resources to meet community needs;
  • challenge myths, misconceptions and negative stereotypes about disability and ethnicity;
  • provide effective legislative and policy direction and government intervention.


The National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) is the national peak organisation representing the rights and interests of people from non-English speaking background (NESB) with disability, their families and carers throughout Australia.