25 January 2023

Life Without Barriers is an organisation deeply committed to reconciliation in action.

Life Without Barriers acknowledges the deep sorrow and lasting impact that January 26 represents for our First Australians and encourages a more respectful consideration of what this means for each of us, organisations like ours and the nation as a whole.

Life Without Barriers as a collective of more than 13,000 employees and carers, is making a progressive effort in giving our non-award staff the choice to substitute an alternate day, rather than take 26 January as a public holiday in 2023.

Chief Executive of Life Without Barriers, Claire Robbs said the organisation recognises that for many in our country, January 26 marks the beginning of centuries of suffering we are yet to reconcile and overcome and as such, the organisation believes employees should have the choice about whether they acknowledge the public holiday.

“The substantial distress that the 26th of January brings for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cannot continue to be ignored and dismissed,” Ms Robbs said.

“It is a date of celebration for some and a time of deep and long-term trauma for others. We must recognise the growing debate in our country and consider what 26 January represents for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and therefore what it means for us all.

“As a nation, we must have the courage truthfully and sincerely work through the complexity of our history and its impacts on all Australians." Said Ms Robbs.

The option to substitute the public holiday applies to as many employees across Life Without Barriers as possible and the organisation will continue to look at options in the future for rostered staff.

“It can be a challenging and distressing day, and it is our hope that by giving our people this option, we can better support the choices that our employees wish to make regarding how, when and in what capacity they acknowledge this day,” Ms Robbs said.


Life Without Barriers has partnered with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities for twenty-five years through the provision of services Australia-wide. Life Without Barriers is committed to the Closing the Gap Campaign, which reinforces the need for large-scale systemic reform, and a paradigm shift in Australia’s approach to truly empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Life Without Barriers' Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan outlines the organisation’s next three years of commitments to contributions towards Reconciliation across Australia.

Life Without Barriers is committed to the National Closing the Gap strategy, including Target 12, to “reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 45% in 2031. As such, Life Without Barriers has partnered with SNAICC – National Voice for our Children and will progressively step away from providing out-of-home care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children by 2031.

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