Media Releases

Statement – NDIS funding sexual expression  – 17 May 2020

People with Disability Australia and Touching Base are concerned about the statements in the media this morning, about the recent Federal Court case concerning National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding for sexual expression, including sex work services, for people with disability.

People with disability have the right to seek sexual expression, and for those that need and want to, use sex work services to do so.

We, again, urge the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and Minister Robert, to accept this latest court decision that confirms that people with disability can use their NDIS funds in this way.

There is no evidence that this finding will cause financial strain to the NDIS, and in fact the Federal Court case rejected the actuarial evidence presented by the NDIA about the financial impact.

This judgement (in response to the NDIA’s appeal of a previous decision in the AAT) made it clear that people with disability, who use the NDIS, can include matters to do with intimacy with another human being, and that there is no hard line to prevent that in the legislation.

People with disability have individualised plans that suit their individual needs through the NDIS.

Not everyone will need, or want, to include sexual expression in their plans, but this judgement makes it very clear, that people with disability who do want to, must be permitted to do so.

Read the earlier statement from PWDA and Touching Base.

Key points:

  • The recent Federal Court case was brought by the NDIA, appealing the earlier decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in 2019, and again affirmed that the NDIS should fund sexual expression, including sex work services, for this person with disability.
  • The judges in the Federal Court case unanimously dismissed all the claims by the NDIA, including that this decision would have a significant financial impact on the sustainability of the NDIS.
  • They endorsed the finding of the earlier AAT decision that there was no basis for the actuarial claims made by the NDIA.
  • The judgement in the Federal Court case says “that the evidence of the Agency’s NDIS actuary shed little or no light on the financial sustainability of the NDIS”.
  • Paragraphs 111 to 114 of the judgement lay out clearly that any claims that this decision would affect the costs of the NDIS are not correct.
Landmark decision for the right of people with disability to have sex  – 12th May 2020

Today’s unanimous decision of the Federal Court to uphold the right of a person with disability to use their National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding to access sex work services is clear, and must be accepted.

“This courageous person with disability has fought for years to have her right to equal access to ordinary sexual expression funded through her NDIS plan,” said El Gibbs, Director, Media and Communications, People with Disability Australia.

“She won her Administrative Appeals Tribunal case, and has now emphatically won in the Federal Court of Australia. We urge the NDIS to accept this decision today, and allow people with disability to fund sexual expression through their plans.” See the whole joint media release by Touching Base and PWDA Read more…  or download as a PDF

Time for sexuality policy for the NDIS

People with disability, and our organisations, are today calling for the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to develop a comprehensive policy on sexuality for people with disability accessing the NDIS.

“Today we’re releasing a position statement, signed by over 40 organisations, calling on the Australian Government to include sexuality supports in the NDIS,” said Matthew Bowden, Expert Advisor, People with Disability Australia and member of Disabled People’s Organisations Australia.
“This includes funding for sex work and sex therapy services as part of people with disability’s NDIS plans.” Read more…

People with disability have the right to sex

Touching Base and PWDA applaud a NSW Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) decision to permit National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding for sex services – July 2019.

We have been working closely on NDIS matters and have put out a joint media release on this important decision:…/media-release-people-with-disability-h…

Latest Touching Base research shows few complaints to local councils – so why waste money on red tape and risk negative outcomes for sex workers?

New data on the frequency and content of public concerns about the sex work industry in NSW show no need for any increased control over premises used to supply services. A survey of complaints made to 16 diverse Local government areas over the past two years showed… read more

Touching Base Patron’s Inauguration April 10th 2014

Five high-profile Australians have been announced as the inauguralPatrons of Touching Base. See our Media Release for more info and quotes Touching Base Patron Event Media Release (PDF 425KB)

10th Anniversary – MEDIA RELEASE 
Rachel Wotton, Eva Cox and Graeme Innes at the Touching Base 10th birthday celebration. Pic: Belinda Mason
Rachel Wotton, Eva Cox and Graeme Innes at the Touching Base 10th birthday celebration. Photo: Belinda Mason


On Tuesday 12 April the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, the Human Rights Disabilities Commissioner Graeme Innes AM and Eva Cox AO assisted in launching the new ‘Policy and Procedural Guide for disability service providers supporting clients to access sex workers’, with 120 enthusiastic supporters at Customs House, Sydney.

In support of the launch, sponsored through a grant from the City of Sydney, the Hon. Michael Kirby addressed the gathering by way of a pre-recorded message of support. He observed that,

“Touching Base is trying to develop a liaison, a contact, a conversation between sex workers and people with disabilities” and to “deny sexual expression to human beings, cuts them off from that aspect of their personalities and of their happiness and you have a lot of very frustrated and very unhappy people.”.

See our Media Release for more info and quotes Media Release touching base policy launch April 12- 2011  (PDF 142MB) More photographs and MPEGs of all the insightful and moving speeches will be posted to the Gallery in our Resources section as they become available.

The Policy and Procedural Guide for disability service providers supporting clients to access sex workers is now available for sale via this page.

Touching Base President Saul Isbister also announced that all donations to Touching Base for $2.00 or more are now tax deductible, as he proudly launched a new fundraising flyer – also paid for with a grant from the City of Sydney.

 NSW Governor launches Touching Base Website

Her Excellency, Prof Marie Bashir A.C. the Governor of NSW,  launched our website and presenting all the students who have worked with us on the project with Certificates of Appreciation from Touching Base NSW.

A huge thanks to all the kind folks who have contributed to the development of this site, and especially our major sponsers Petersham RSL for donating the Website Launch venue @Newtown and food and beverages to all our guests.

Touching Base endorses The Uluru Statement from the Heart and acknowledges First Nations as the traditional custodians of country throughout Australia, their diversity, histories and knowledge, and their continuing connections to land and community. As Australians all, we respect our nation’s First Peoples, their cultures, and Elders of past, present and future generations.