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  • Appendix 7: Access and inclusion

    Since 1994, Commonwealth departments and agencies have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007–08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission's State of the Service Report and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at Link. From 2010–11, departments and agencies have no longer been required to report on these functions.

    The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by a new National Disability Strategy 2010–20 which sets out a ten-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high-level biennial report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these reports will be available in 2014 at Link

    The Social Inclusion Measurement and Reporting Strategy, agreed by the government in December 2009, will also include some reporting on disability matters in its regular How Australia is faring report and, if appropriate, in strategic change indicators in agency annual reports. 

    Our Access and inclusion plan outlines how we contribute to two outcomes from the National Disability Strategy:

    • people with disability live in accessible and well-designed communities with opportunity for full inclusion in social, economic, sporting and cultural life
    • people with disability, their families and carers have economic security, enabling them to plan for the future and exercise choice and control over their lives.

    Tables 4.12 to 4.15 highlight our performance against our plan – including our roles as a regulator, provider of services, purchaser and employer.

    Table 4.12 Access and inclusion plan – our role as regulator



    Work to ensure new initiatives and campaigns provide information in accessible formats where appropriate

    We produce a range of products and information in accessible formats for people with disability. This includes the Individual tax return instructions available in Digital Accessible Information System, CD audio and e-text formats, as well as audio guides, fact sheets in screen reader-friendly format, large-print posters, and videos with captioning. E-tax is also compatible with screen reader software for people with vision impairment.

    We also produce communications tailored specifically for people with disability, including brochures on tax and superannuation.

    We produce regular radio segments for people with a vision or print disability, which air nationally on the Vision Australia Radio and Radio for the Print Handicapped networks. These segments cover a wide range of tax and superannuation topics.

    We communicate important tax and superannuation information through articles and media releases in print and online publications, which are distributed to a wide range of disability organisations.

    We have produced an online and DVD presentation, Tax in Australia – what you need to know, with basic information on the tax system in Australian sign language (Auslan) for the deaf community. There is also an English version with captioning and audio versions available.

    Each year, we encourage disability organisations and individuals who can assist people with disability to get involved in the Tax Help program. Tax Help volunteers assist eligible taxpayers in completing their tax returns during tax time.

    Taxpayers have the option to use Auslan interpreters or the National Relay Service to access tax advice and assistance. The service is broadly communicated by the ATO.

    We also have a specialist panel that includes a Diverse Audiences Services panel, to source communication products and services designed for people with disability.

    Allocate at least 7.5% of all campaign budgets to diverse audiences, including taxpayers with disability

    We ensure the communication needs of diverse audiences are taken into consideration in the development of campaigns and communication strategies. This includes ensuring a proportion of campaign budgets is allocated towards this work.

    Table 4.13 Access and inclusion plan – our role as purchaser



    Procurement of goods and services complies with Disability Discrimination Act 1992

    Our purchasing specifications and contracts comply fully with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. We address this through the Ethical business relationship statement which provides a framework on how we do business with suppliers and sets our expectations for all contractors and sub contractors. The statement is based on values and codes of conduct and refers to non-discrimination, ethical standards, accountability and transparency. The ethical business relationships lists the Translating and Interpreting Service and National Relay Service for handling concerns and disputes for people of non-English speaking background, and hearing or speech impaired persons.

    We require our contractors to act in a manner consistent with the Taxpayers' Charter, the APS Values and Code of Conduct, the ethical business relationships and the ATO environmental policy statement.

    Our contracts require suppliers to assure us in writing that they are meeting their contractual obligations. This includes ethical business relationships.

    Promote the use of Australian Disability Enterprises when procuring goods and services in the ATO

    Our procurement policy requires that we comply with all Commonwealth procurement – connected policies including the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. We have not actively promoted the use of Disability Enterprises this year.

    Promote universal design principles in purchasing goods and services in the ATO to ensure the needs of people with disability are considered

    Our efforts on improving information technology have focused on ensuring that employees with disability are able to get equipment in a timely fashion.

    Ensure ATO leased buildings comply with Australian Standards and Australian Human Rights Commission Advisory Notes on the Accessibility of Premises Disability Discrimination Act 1992 Building Code of Australia

    We routinely review compliance with the Australian Human Rights Commission Advisory Notes on the Accessibility of Premises Disability Discrimination Act 1992 Building Code of Australia when leasing buildings.

    Table 4.14 Access and inclusion plan – our role as provider of services



    Consult with key stakeholders in the disability sector and the national disability network when developing service delivery solutions that impact on people with disability

    To obtain feedback on our current service offer and better understand the communication needs of people with a disability, we convene meetings with representatives from key disability organisations and advocacy groups. The aim of these meetings is to learn more about the communication needs and expectations of people with disability.

    Attendees at the most recent gathering included representatives from Vision Australia, Disability Services Australia, Australian Foundation for Disability, and Macarthur Disability Services.

    We also use internal resources such as our National Disability Network, to seek feedback and share information on work being undertaken for disability audiences.

    Sub-plans consult with Access & Diversity Unit during the design and development stage of external communication strategies and products to ensure the needs of diverse audience are considered

    We develop tailored communications approaches to ensure the needs of diverse audiences, including people with disability, are met. Each year, we develop and implement diverse audiences communications strategies on a range of tax and superannuation topics.

    Ensure that accessible products and services are available for people with disability where appropriate

    Our shopfronts and client contact areas are accessible to people with disability. Alternative avenues for taxpayers to contact us or receive information include provision of interpreters and adapted web services for vision-impaired people and those who cannot use a mouse.

    Products are available to meet the needs of diverse carer groups

    Our communications include messages aimed not only at people with a disability, but those who support them. This includes disability organisations, intermediaries and carers.

    We also use the connections we have made with disability organisations to reach carers in the community. For example, we worked with a disability organisation in Sydney to deliver a number of tax workshops aimed specifically at carers.

    There is also a wide range of tax and superannuation information aimed at carers on our dedicated web page at

    Regularly review developments in e-form design that would facilitate improved accessibility for people with disability to complete and submit forms electronically

    This was deferred pending the deployment of our new platform.

    Update and promote ATO's Internet content to inform customers with disability of accessible products and services

    Internet content is promoted through a wide range of channels such as articles published in our Diversity in Focus newsletter for intermediaries, during our radio broadcasts to disability audiences and links included in printed products tailored for the disability audience.

    Review training provided to help Client Service Officers and field staff to work with customers with disability

    This priority is being reviewed as part of the review for the next access and inclusion plan.

    Ongoing promotion to staff and customers of the availability of communication products in accessible formats

    We undertake ongoing communications to advise diverse audiences, and those who support them, on the availability of new and existing products and information tailored for people with disability.

    We communicate this information through radio, on our website and through articles placed in print and online magazines.

    We also undertake internal communication via various newsletters, to inform our employees of the work being undertaken. We promoted the availability of tax time products such as the Individual tax return instructions and e-tax in accessible formats, and our tax time audio guide.

    Table 4.15 Access and inclusion plan – our role as employer



    Develop advice and support to ensure reasonable adjustments are made throughout recruitment exercises and learning and development activities

    Demand for centrally-funded reasonable adjustments for employees with disability has increased this year. We have centralised management and funding arrangements for providing reasonable adjustment for people with disability. Managers are not required to make decisions about reasonable adjustments or to fund these adjustments. In addition, we access the Employment Access Fund administered by Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations wherever possible to reduce costs.

    Processes have been established to ensure that successful job applicants are provided with reasonable adjustment when they commence with us.

    Develop and implement traineeships using Public Service Commissioner's Directions including school-based traineeships

    We reviewed models for developing traineeships for people with disability and decided not to proceed at this time.

    Develop recruitment and marketing strategies to attract applicants with disability

    We entered into an agreement with the National Disability Recruitment Coordinator and completed a pilot of site-based disability advisors in two sites.

    In 2012, we agreed to participate in the pilot of RecruitAbility being conducted as part of the APS-wide As One Employment Strategy.

    We sought input from employees with disability through the ATO National Disability Network.

    We expanded participants in our Stepping Into program for tertiary students with disability by 50% to 15 participants. We also offered our program during the second last year of university. This enabled participants to cite their ATO experience in their applications for the Graduate Development Program. This provided opportunities for students with disability to gain work experience and to build their knowledge and skills.

    The Career and Destination ATO web pages are reviewed to ensure they are World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) compliant and have equivalent text only version

    Our career web pages were reviewed as part of the refresh of our external website. This website was developed with accessibility in mind and we have confidence there is a high level of conformance against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and we aim to be Level AA compliant by the end of 2014.

    The ATO Destination website is a separate website and is as compliant as it can be given the constraints of the software it was created in. Plans are in place to address areas of non-compliance.

    Develop and implement communications strategy to promote contribution people with disability make to the ATO and improve number of people with disability who identify on our employee self-service system

    A communications strategy is in the final stages of development. It includes key messages for people with disability, their managers and colleagues, human resource professionals and employees. It includes information on obtaining reasonable adjustments, myths and misconceptions and support available for people with disability and their managers. The strategy will be delivered through a range of corporate communications mediums.

    Review ATO leadership and career development training packages to ensure they meet the needs of employees with disability

    Employee feedback was provided on the ATO Leadership and Management statement and strategy. Further input will be provided as the development of this strategy continues.

    Review the National Disability Network to ensure employees with disability to provide input into strategies and policies

    The network was reviewed in December 2012. We are currently making changes to meet the needs of people with disability and allow them to provide input to strategies and policy. These include holding regular meetings focused on specific topics, providing better access for hearing impaired employees and improving record keeping of outstanding issues.

    Develop disability awareness training for managers and staff

    Disability awareness training is included in the Implementing Diversity at Work training package which must be completed by all employees every two years. We are developing products to complement this package.

    Provide advice and support to managers to onboard new employees with disability

    Advice and support is available to managers on request and they are able to attend the National Disability Network.

    Promoting reasonable adjustments for selection processes and during employment

    We have centralised management and funding arrangements for providing reasonable adjustment for people with disability. Managers are not required to make decisions about reasonable adjustments or to fund these adjustments. In addition we access the Employment Access Fund administered by Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations wherever possible to reduce costs.

    Processes have been established to ensure that successful job applicants are provided with reasonable adjustment when they commence with us.

    We are also streamlining our processes for purchasing non-standard equipment to ensure timely delivery to employees.

    Review nomination processes for all corporate events and courses and external learning opportunities to ensure reasonable adjustments are made for employees with disability

    Invitations to corporate events routinely request information from people with disability about any reasonable adjustments required. We will focus on ensuring reasonable adjustments are available for participants in learning events.

    Promote use of universal design principles for the development of appropriate ATO software applications

    We focused on streamlining processes to provide employees with disability with timely access to non-standard equipment.

    Raise awareness of people with disability by organising events to celebrate and promote International Day of People with a Disability, Mental Health Week, Hearing Awareness Week

    We celebrated International Day of People with Disability across the ATO. Some sites promoted Mental Health Week and Hearing Awareness Week.

    An SES disability champion is appointed to actively support employees with disability and appropriate support mechanisms such as a network of disability contact officers are explored

    A model for providing SES leadership on diversity, including disability has been developed.

    We successfully piloted site-based disability advisors in Parramatta and Box Hill. These advisors provide advice to people with disability, their managers and colleagues on avenues for addressing concerns.

    Last modified: 06 Oct 2014QC 42611