The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) provides a framework for the conceptualisation, classification and measurement of disability. It recognises disability as a multidimensional and universal experience. Within the ICF framework, a wide range of specific purpose definitions and applications can be located, developed and related to each other. Perspectives on disability may vary with environment, personal experience and professional training. The ICF provides an information framework—of concepts, terminology and classifications—that will help to establish a broadly shared understanding of disability at various life stages, in various settings and among people with varying experience and training. Widespread use of the ICF will lead to more integrated approaches to gathering and sharing information and to policy making. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is now encouraging the use of the ICF in a broad range of fields in Australia.