Disability Support

What is a disability?

Disability can include physical, intellectual, psychiatric, sensory, neurological and learning impairment, physical disfigurement or the presence in the body of disease-causing organisms (for example, HIV). In some cases, a student with a disability may experience challenges that inhibit their full participation in their study program.

More information on the Australian definition of disability and the rights of people with disability in Australia is available on the Australian Human Rights Commission’s website at https:// www.humanrights.gov.au/ourwork/disability-rights.

What is not considered a disability?

Illness that can be corrected with interventions may not be considered a disability. Examples may include asthma that can be treated with medication and short-sightedness that can be corrected with glasses. Further, some treatments may not be covered by Australia Awards PNG support, for example, physiotherapy or other health-related services.

Does a person with disability need to complete the scholarship application form and meet the other requirements?

Yes, all applicants are required to meet the eligibility requirements and complete the application. If an applicant with disability has questions or concerns about the application requirements, they should contact the Australia Awards team.

What level of study can an applicant with a disability apply for?

Applicants with disability can apply for any of the Australia Awards programs for study in Australia including undergraduate, masters and research courses, in line with the eligibility requirements for scholarships for these levels of study. Undergraduate awards are restricted to topics that cannot be studied in PNG and for people living with disability. People living with disability are also able to apply for masters and research degrees, as applicable.

Applicants with disability can also apply for Australia Awards programs for study in PNG and Short Courses, also in line with eligibility requirements. Applicants are encouraged to apply for the level of study most relevant to their capability and previous academic and work history.

Does declaring a disability limit your chances of getting a scholarship?

No, declaring a disability will not disadvantage you in any way. Australia Awards encourages applicants with disability to declare their circumstances. If Australia Awards knows about the disability, reasonable adjustments and accommodations can be made to reduce barriers to participation. For example, visually impaired applicants may have their test read to them and a scribe provided, rather than being expected to read the questions and write the answers.

Applying for a scholarship

Scholarship applicants are encouraged to share information about their disability in their application. Australia Awards PNG can then assist people where appropriate and practicable. An applicant who shares information about their disability in their application will be invited to complete a Disability Support Statement. This information will help Australia Awards PNG determine if support is required for further selection processes, if the application is shortlisted for further consideration.

Does declaring a disability guarantee a scholarship place?

As the Australia Awards program is an academic program, scholarship places are awarded on a merit basis. There is no guarantee of a scholarship place, as it is a highly competitive academic program. However, applicants living with disability are strongly encouraged to apply.

What is a reasonable adjustment and reasonable accommodation?

Reasonable adjustments are measures that can be made to ensure students with a disability can meet the academic standards of their course of study and participate on the same basis as other students. Examples might include alterations to the physical environment and other facilities, and changes to the way skills are assessed. Reasonable accommodation is the provision of support, modifications and/or adjustments that meet the individual needs of people with disabilities to ensure they enjoy and exercise all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis to others. Examples might include the provision of accessible transportation, sign-language interpreters, and documents in accessible formats.

What reasonable adjustments and accommodations will be made during the selection process?

If shortlisted, an independent assessment will be arranged for the applicant with disability. The assessment will be undertaken by a medical professional or disability adviser, and the assessment report will be used to guide the Australia Awards office in making reasonable adjustments and accommodations. Reasonable adjustments and accommodations will differ depending on the disability and the individual’s needs. Examples of reasonable adjustments and accommodations may include provision of an orator and scribe for tests, and provision of a special table catering to wheelchair height.

What support is available on scholarship in Australia for people with disabilities?

Detailed information about support available for awardees with disability is included in the Australia Awards Scholarships Policy Handbook (in particular refer to Chapter 9) – https://www.dfat.gov.au/about-us/publications/australia-awards-scholarships-policy-handbook If selected for an Australia Award, the awardee will work closely with the DFAT Disability Support Consultant to develop a Disability Support Plan prior to going to Australia. This plan will be tailored to the needs of the individual and outlines the support required to successfully live and study in Australia.

Support may include provision of a carer, assistive devices or other support required to successfully live and study in Australia. The requirements set out in the Disability Support Plan will be pre-approved and included in the awardee’s scholarship entitlements. Each institution has a Student Contact Officer who is the primary point of contact for all Australia Awards recipients at the university. Many Australian institutions also have a dedicated disability service or disability officer to support students with disability to fully participate in university life. The Student Contact Officer will help the awardee with disability access the institution’s disability services.

How are people with disability considered in Australia?

In Australia, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 protects individuals across Australia from unfair treatment in many parts of public life. The Act makes disability discrimination unlawful and promotes equal rights, equal opportunity and equal access for people with disabilities.