National Centre Launched to Boost Health of Intellectually Disabled

Department of Health

The Albanese Labor Government is establishing a National Centre of Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health - which fulfils an election commitment made in 2022.

Compared with the general population, the 450,000 Australians who have an intellectual disability experience more than twice the rate of avoidable deaths, higher rates of physical and mental health conditions, and lower rates of preventive healthcare.

The Labor Government is working to improve the nation's health system to better serve people with intellectual disability, who have the right to the same quality of health care as everybody else.

The Centre will include staff members who have intellectual disability, as well as family members and carers, to ensure the lived experienced of intellectual disability is a part of the way the Centre is run.

The Centre is funded with an initial grant of $22 million for its first four years from the 2022-23 Budget and will be run by a consortium of 9 organisations, led by the University of New South Wales.

The Centre is a key priority under the National Roadmap for Improving the Health of People with Intellectual Disability.

The Centre will be vital in helping to achieve this. The National Centre will:

  • be a leader in intellectual disability health
  • identify gaps in research on intellectual disability health
  • improve health services for people with intellectual disability
  • help people with intellectual disability and their families to find the right health services and access health information
  • provide expert advice for implementing other measures under the Roadmap.

The consortium that will set up and run the Centre includes:

  • the University of New South Wales
  • the Council for Intellectual Disability
  • First Peoples Disability Network
  • Down Syndrome Australia
  • the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Sydney
  • Queenslanders with Disability Network
  • the University of Melbourne
  • the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, and
  • the Mater Intellectual Disability and Autism Service in Brisbane.

The Government has also provided $6.7 million to improve access to annual health assessments for people with intellectual disability. Annual health assessments help identify unmet health needs in people with intellectual disability and improve their access to primary care.

In November 2022, the Government acquired a permanent licence to publish and develop the best practice tool for annual health assessments for people with intellectual disability, the Comprehensive Health Assessment Program.

This tool helps people with intellectual disability - often with the support of their families or carers - to provide important health information to their doctor. It also guides doctors in doing an annual health assessment and alerts them to commonly missed health issues in this population.

The 2023 Adult Comprehensive Health Assessment Program can be accessed on the department's website at

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister Kearney:

"There are 450,000 Australians who have an intellectual disability and they deserve access to excellent, tailored and empathetic healthcare that fits their needs."

"My sister has an intellectual disability and I have seen first hand the challenges she has experienced accessing healthcare. This Centre will lead best-practice and help to make our health system more accessible for everyone."

"The lived experience and skills of people with a disability will be central to the success of this Centre."

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