For 40 years, IDEAS has been a trusted source of independent, unbiased disability information. We have a long, proud history of serving people with disability, their families and carers by providing them with accurate, fact-checked and reliable information. Information is the key to enabling people to live full and independent lives of their own choosing. 

Our Timeline

History of IDEAS

1981

1981 was a turning point in the history of the Australian and International Disability Rights movements. 

The regional council of DPI applied for a grant program from the Federal Government celebrating the international year of disabled people, to develop a community directory of equipment suppliers available for people with disability in the Riverina. The project was based in Tumut, as the lead Project Officer, Jenny Stanzel lived there.  

IDEAS was formed as an incorporated association. Based in Tumut, led by Jenny Stanzel.

Project funds were gained in 1984 from the federal Health department to establish a national one-stop-shop for information for people with disability. A new employee commenced - Sue Gorman. With two staff, the organisation began collecting information about services and supports available for people with disability and housed it in a computerised database using Asksam as database software. 

Jenny Stanzel became well known as a strong advocate for people with disability and represented people with disabilities on numerous committees through the 1980's, retiring from service in 1997. In 1998, Jenny was awarded an AM for her service to people with disability. 

In 1981, disability became more than a diagnosis and something to be dealt with by medical professionals. People with disability became united to overcome their social oppression as a group. "Nothing About Us Without Us" was appropriated by people with disability in their activism. 

1986

Disability rights advocacy was recognised as a programme area to be funded under the Disability Services Act 1986

Since then, disability activism and advocacy began a sustained focus on several important cornerstones of disability self-determination; a general move away from institutional type services to community-based services; the establishment of 'public advocates' and guardianship boards in most states, the Disability Services Act (DSA) 1986 and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992.

1988

IDEAS starts to publish newsletters. 

1996

IDEAS goes online with its first website. 

1997

Jenny Stanzel retires and Diana Palmer becomes the second Executive Officer. 

2002

IDEAS moves from Asksam to the LINCS Database, updating the website and providing online access to the information from the IDEAS database. 

2008

IDEAS merges with DIRC

The adoption and ratification by the Australian Government of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). By ratifying the UNRCPD, Australia joined other countries in a global effort to promote the equal and active participation of all people with disability. 

2010

Diana Palmer wins a Churchill Fellowship

2010-2020

National Disability Strategy. 

"People with disabilities want to bring about a transformation of their lives. They want their human rights recognised and realised. They want the things that everyone else in the community takes for granted. They want somewhere to live, a job, better health care, a good education, a chance to enjoy the company of friends and family, to go to the footy and to go to the movies. They want the chance to participate meaningfully in the life of the community. And they are hopeful. They desire change and they want others in the community to share their vision. They recognise that governments cannot work in isolation and they want others to see the benefits of building more inclusive communities." (Shut Out, 2009)*

2011

Productivity Commission Report Proposing the NDIS. 

"The current disability support system is underfunded, unfair, fragmented and inefficient and gives people with a disability little choices andno certainity of access to appropriate supports. There should be a new national scheme - the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) - that provides insurance cover for all Australians in the event of significant disability. Funding of the scheme should be a core function of government (just like Medicare). (Productivity Commission. 2011)*

2013

National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 legislated. 

2014

NSW Disability Inclusion Act

2017

IDEAS become a company limited by guarantee. 

2021

IDEAS reset to focus on other income sources due to the implementation of the Disability Gateway in January 2021. Our Disability Infoline is closed, and our database is relaunched as Information by subscription – Infoqore.


IDEAS does information so you can do life.