Service Australia Logo

DSS promotes payments for people with disability

In a special edition of Aboriginal Quarterly, the government promoted help for Aboriginal people with disability and featured Aboriginal voices in articles for the International Year of Disabled Persons.

Aboriginal people are often not aware of the entitlements and services available to handicapped or disabled persons and their families ...

Department of Aboriginal Affairs Aboriginal Quarterly article, 1981, p 12
Attachment Size
aboriginal-quarterly-excerpts.pdf 645.28 KB
Attachment Size
aboriginal-quarterly-excerpts.docx 81.02 KB
About the artefact

Aboriginal Quarterly was a Department of Aboriginal Affairs journal intended for an Aboriginal audience. It published these articles in a special insert for the International Year of Disabled Persons (IYDP) in 1981.    

‘Kevin Coombs: disabled but able’

One article featured Kevin Coombs. Coombs is a Wotjobaluk man, paraplegic and Paralympian. He had been appointed by the National Aboriginal Conference to promote the needs of Aboriginal people with disability throughout IYDP.

Coombs’s commitment to raising awareness about Aboriginal people with disability is clear throughout the article. In the story, Coombs talked about the childhood injury that paralysed him. He also talked about his work, sporting prowess and his IYDP mission.

Coombs’s full autobiography reflected on the long stretches of time he spent in hospital. He wrote about the lack of government support for his family and how this meant they couldn’t visit him.

‘Assistance for disabled persons’

The other article, ‘Assistance for disabled persons’, outlined 6 government payments and services for Aboriginal people with disability and their carers. It noted that Aboriginal people often did not know about these payments. It told readers to contact their local Department of Social Security office for further help.

Communicating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers

These articles show the government highlighting Aboriginal voices and suggesting that people check what kind of payments they could get.

Around the same time, the government was beginning to use more engaging ways of promoting their payments to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers. For example, they began using Aboriginal art on ABSTUDY posters and worked with translators to create information in language.

Source details

Aboriginal Quarterly was published by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs between 1978 and 1982. According to the header, it was intended for Aboriginal people in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.


Permission to include this article was granted by Kevin Coombs OAM.


Department of Aboriginal Affairs (1981) ‘Assistance for disabled persons’, Aboriginal Quarterly, 4(2):12.

Department of Aboriginal Affairs (1981) ‘Kevin Coombs: disabled but able’, Aboriginal Quarterly, 4(2):13.