This Disability Framework was approved June 2011

Foreword by the Director-General

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 makes discrimination in relation to a disability, unlawful.  Legislation protects employees, prospective employees, volunteers, work experience students, contract workers and clients.  It recognises that people with a disability have the same fundamental rights and should have the same opportunities as other people to participate in the workplace and in community life.

The Library is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities have the same access to information and opportunities to participate in and contribute to its programs as other people in the community.  This is an integral part of ensuring that the whole community can access the Library – a significant national cultural institution - and that the Library is recognised as an employer of choice.

The Library’s Disability Framework has two key objectives:

  • to ensure that all Australians have access to a national collection of library material to enhance learning, knowledge creation, enjoyment and understanding of Australian life and society; and
  • to ensure that the Library is accessible as a workplace, affording equal opportunity for staff members (and prospective staff members) with disability. It seeks to have processes for recruitment and promotion, as well as workplace conditions that foster equal opportunity for people with disability.

I encourage all employees to identify the role they can play in realising the objectives of this Framework and to actively support and implement it.

Anne-Marie Schwirtlich



The Australian Government, through the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Commonwealth Disability Strategy (CDS), is taking affirmative action to provide better access to facilities, information and services, and employment to members of the community, who may have one or more disabilities.  Consequently, the Library will ensure the integration of disability access issues into strategic and business planning processes.  The Library will also coordinate planning efforts to meet its responsibilities regarding equity, inclusion, participation, access and accountability.


The purpose of this document is to set out the Library’s commitment and approach to achieving the key elements of its Disability Framework.  The key elements include:

  • providing access to facilities, information and services;
  • providing access to employment;
  • purchasing services which are accessible;
  • recognising people with disabilities as consumers of services; and
  • consulting with people with disabilities to find out what they need.

These provide the platform for further planning and development across the Library, specifically across the operational areas of reader services, information technology, public programs, human resources and building and security services.


For the purposes of this Disability Framework, the Library acknowledges that there are two definitions of disability.  The first definition is from section 4 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 which is deliberately broad and inclusive.  The second definition is from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2003 Disability, Ageing and Carers Survey and is to be used for the collection of data and statistics from APS employees.  The definition of discrimination is taken from the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.  Please refer to Appendix A for full details of these definitions.


This document sets out the Library’s commitment and approach to achieving the key elements of its Disability Framework.  The Framework responds to the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and is aligned to the best practice guidance - offered in the CDS – for the key roles of “provider”, “purchaser” and “employer”.  It also provides the context for the development of internal operational business sub-plans to respond to the recommendations of the Management Advisory Committee (MAC) Report – Employment of People with Disability in the APS and subsequent guidance detailed in the Australian Public Service Commission’s publication - ‘Ability at Work:  Tapping the talent of people with disability’.

The Library is committed to achieving the eight objectives for promoting the employment of people with disability in the APS, as detailed in the Management Advisory Committee (MAC) Report – Employment of People with Disability in the APS.  These objectives will be incorporated into strategic and business planning, as far as reasonably practicable, and include:

  1. Creating and sustaining a culture that values diversity and actively promotes the employment of people with disability;
  2. Providing flexible recruitment strategies that are accessible to applicants with disability;
  3. Providing accessible training, cadetship and mentoring opportunities for people with disability;
  4. Developing special employment measures to improve the employment outcomes for people with disability (e.g. intellectual disability);
  5. Developing accessible premises, workplaces and supportive work environments for people with disability;
  6. Reducing complexity and cost for managers employing people with disability;
  7. Sustaining a consistent conceptual framework for defining disability; and
  8. Improving continuous recruitment and retention strategies for people with disability.


Library CouncilThe Library Council has a general role to:

  • oversee strategic initiatives within the Library, including development of the Disability Framework, consistent with the provisions of the National Library Act 1960, the Public Service Act 1999 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, and
  • through the Director-General, oversee the performance of the Disability Framework.

The Director-General’s role is to:

  • authorise the Disability Framework; and
  • hold the CMG accountable for performance of outcomes against the key elements of the Disability Framework.

Corporate Management Group (CMG)
CMG’s role is to ensure that the Library develops three operational business sub-plans to implement the key elements outlined in this Framework in relation to equity of service delivery, purchasing and employment of persons with disability.

CMG member responsibilities include:

  • collectively overseeing the development, resourcing, communication, implementation, and evaluation of the Library’s Disability Framework through individual and collaborative efforts;
  • being held individually accountable for contribution to the development and implementation of the sub-plans against the key elements of the Library’s Disability Framework, as these relate to their own division; and
  • actively encouraging workplace diversity, including modelling supportive behaviours in the Library for visitors and employees.

Specific Executive Sponsors
The Assistant Directors-General will sponsor action in the Library in relation to the key elements of the Library’s Disability Framework.

Specifically, the Assistant Director-General, Corporate Services will sponsor action in the Library in relation to the physical elements of building accessibility and the Library as an employer.  All Directors-General will sponsor action in the Library in relation to the elements of purchaser and provider, as they apply to their respective Divisions’ responsibilities.

Each sponsor’s role is to:

  • play a lead role in promoting an organisational culture in which the needs of people with disability are considered and acted upon; and
  • provide business planning and guidance across the Library’s roles of accessible service provider, equitable employer and purchaser.

Disability Co-ordinators
Responsibility for co-ordinating the Framework and monitoring its implementation across the Library rests with the Director, Human Resources and the Assistant Director, Human Resources (OHS).  These responsibilities will include encouraging awareness, sourcing appropriate training and reporting to CMG on progress against the Framework whilst ensuring the Annual Report and the Australian Public Service Commission’s (APSC’s) State of the Service reporting is accurate and consistent.

Disability Sub-Plan Owners
The responsibility for the development, evaluation and revision of the three sub-plans rests with:

  • the Director, Human Resources for the employer role;
  • the Director, Contracts and Legal Support for the purchaser role; and
  • the Director, Reader Services for the provider role.

Such responsibilities will include collegiate liaison across divisions to develop evaluate and review their respective sub-plans.  Each sub-plan shall record the objective, strategies/performance measures, current level of performance, goals and actions for all areas to which the sub-plan relates, with progress against achievement of objectives reported at financial year end to the Disability Co-ordinators and subsequently CMG.

Disability Contact Officers
An employee from each Division will be selected for the role of Disability Contact Officer through a nomination and election process.  Their role is to act as a point of referral within their Division on disability issues for all staff and visitors and to advocate on disability issues in all appropriate forums, including at the Disability Stakeholder Committee and through divisional Consultative Committee representatives.

Managers and Supervisors
In accordance with the Australian Public Service (APS) Code of Conduct, Values and other legislation, all managers and supervisors shall:

  • design and provide services in a manner that promotes dignified access for people with disabilities; and
  • treat all employees and prospective employees fairly, from selecting employees on the basis of merit to providing training, career development and promotion on the basis of ability and reasonable workplace modifications.

All Employees
All Library employees are required to:

  • endeavour to provide library services in a manner that will enable people with disability to engage with the Library’s collections as fully and easily as possible;
  • be accountable for treating everyone with respect and courtesy and without discrimination; and
  • act in accordance with the APS Values and Code of Conduct.

1.5 Reporting Obligations

External Reporting
Under the central elements of the CDS, government agencies must specify and report against outcomes for the roles of policy adviser, regulator, provider, purchaser and employer.  Consistent with the CDS, the Library’s Disability Framework is presented to permit ease of reporting on the three relevant roles that apply to the Library (i.e. provider, purchaser and employer).

It is acknowledged that achievements against the employer role are required to be reported in the APSC State of the Service Report, whereas the provider and purchaser roles are required to be reported in the Library’s Annual Report.

The Library does not consider it has any significant policy or regulatory role and therefore will not be routinely reporting against these roles unless otherwise requested.

Internal Reporting
The sub-plans should be developed, evaluated and revised by ‘the owners’ with progress against the achievement of objectives reported at financial year end to the Disability Co-ordinators and subsequently CMG.  It is proposed the first of these plans be prepared by 31 July 2011.

The Assistant Director-General, Corporate Services and Assistant Director-General, Australian Collections and Reader Services will co-chair a meeting at least biannually with the Disability Contact Officers and the Disability Sub-plan Owners to discuss implementation of the Framework and associated sub-plans.


The Library is committed to consulting with stakeholders in relation to matters about the application, implementation, evaluation and review of this Framework that affect them.  These matters will be discussed in a spirit of cooperation, inclusion and trust to ensure that stakeholders have an opportunity to contribute their views on matters relating to disability and this Framework.

A Disability Stakeholder Committee will be established to seek input into this Framework and to facilitate communication and consultation with stakeholders.  This group may consist of, but not be limited to CMG, executive sponsors, Disability Co-ordinators, Disability Sub-plan Owners, Disability Contact Officers, Human Resource staff, volunteers, interested visitors, employees in roles managing contracts and building services, as well as their contracted providers and representatives from disability groups.

The Disability Stakeholder Committee will also communicate and consult with the Consultative Committee on this Framework and disability related matters, as required.


The Framework will be evaluated and reviewed periodically by the Director-General who will take advice from CMG, the Disability Co-ordinators and stakeholders.


For further information or for copies of the Plan, please contact:
Assistant Director, Human Resources (OHS)
National Library of Australia
Parkes Place

Telephone (02) 6262 1563
Facsimile (02) 6273 4980

Appendix A


Disability Discrimination Act 1992
Disability, in relation to a person, means:

a) total or partial loss of the person’s bodily or mental functions; or
b) total or partial loss of a part of the body; or
c) the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness; or
d) the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness; or
e) the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person’s body; or
f) a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction; or
g) a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behaviour; and includes a disability that:
h) presently exists; or
i) previously existed but no longer exists; or
j) may exist in the future; or
k) is imputed to a person.

Australian Bureau of Statistics - 2003 Disability, Ageing and Carers Survey
A person has a disability if they report that they have a limitation, restriction or impairment, which has lasted or is likely to last, for at least six months and restricts everyday activities.  This includes:

  • Loss of sight (not corrected by glasses or contact lenses)
  • Loss of hearing where communication is restricted, or an aid to assist with , or substitute for, hearing is used
  • Speech difficulties
  • Shortness of breath or breathing difficulties causing restriction
  • Chronic or recurrent pain or discomfort causing restriction
  • Blackouts, fits or loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty learning or understanding
  • Incomplete use of arms or fingers
  • Difficulty gripping or holding things
  • Incomplete use of feet or legs
  • Nervous or emotional condition causing restriction
  • Restriction in physical activities or in doing physical work
  • Disfigurement or deformity
  • Mental illness or condition requiring help or supervision
  • Long-term effects of head injury, stroke or other brain damage causing restriction
  • Receiving treatment or medication for any other long-term conditions or ailments and still restricted
  • Any other long-term conditions resulting in a restriction.

Disability Discrimination Act 1992

  1. For the purposes of this Act, a person (discriminator) discriminates against another person (aggrieved person) on the ground of a disability of the aggrieved person if, because of the aggrieved person’s disability, the discriminator treats or proposes to treat the aggrieved person less favourably than, in circumstances that are the same or are not materially different, the discriminator treats or would treat a person without the disability.
  2. For the purposes of subsection (1), circumstances in which a person treats or would treat another person with a disability are not materially different because of the fact that different accommodation or services may be required by the person with a disability.