Australia Report Shows Poor Results for Workers With Disabilities

Job levels for people with disability are at a three-year low in #Australia, with a new report1 painting a bleak picture about barriers to employment and social participation for people with #disability, particularly those on a disability support pension. The report also found that working age carers of people with disability were also less likely to be employed, many of them experiencing negative impacts from their caring role.

The report illustrated that there had been no improvement on the poor result of #workforce participation from last year’s report.

In considering Australia’s poor performance in employment of people with disability, #Disability #Discrimination #Commissioner #Graeme #Innes (20 May 2013, Australian Broadcasting Commission) suggested that major companies need to set targets to raise the workforce participation rate of people with disability, which is currently 30 per cent lower than that of the general population. In a turn around, Innes claimed he used to be opposed to targets, but when “I ran out all the arguments about tokenism, wanting to win my own job, and be employed only on my merits,” he said he realised that, ”it's nice to be principled and philosophical but, to quote Homer Simpson, "it doesn't put cookies in the jar, or beer in the fridge".

“The reality is, most of the other approaches to employing people with disability have not worked. And the consequences are that 45 percent of us live below the poverty line. Despite what you read, we don't want to live on the #DSP. We want to work, earn a wage, and pay taxes.”

Innes has proposed that the targets should start with government, followed by the private sector. To this end, he has issued a challenge to numerous large private sector companies, proposing that they commit to 10 percent of their workforce being people with disability by the end of 2015.

  1. #COAG Reform Council, Disability 2011-2012: Comparing performance across Australia, 24 May 2013

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