People With Disability Australia (PWDA) have announced a new $100 million proposal to tear down barriers for those with a disability trying to get a job.
The proposal has been made to the Australian Government as a part of a Federal Pre-Budget submission and was released today and contains three recommendations.
The recommendations made include:
Developing a National Jobs Plan.
Developing a national advertising campaign to tackle discrimination and attitudes toward people with disability at work.
Investing in increased resources for access at work, and extend accessibility supports to job seekers.
PWDA, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jeff Smith, describes the submission as “a down payment in the economic future of people with disability across Australia”.
Mr Smith adds, “We believe that the measures outlined in our plan will contribute significantly to removing the barriers people with disability face, and make it possible for many people with disability to enter and stay in employment.”
There are lower numbers of people with disability in the workforce compared to those who are not disabled.
Only 53 percent of people with disability of working age are in paid work, compared to 82 percent of their non-disabled peers. The employment gap has not changed over the decades.
When compared with other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, Australia ranks 21 out of 29 in employment participation rates for people with disability.
Mr Smith says people with a disability can face discrimination, a lack of accessibility and a lack of flexibility when trying to get a job. These batteries can make it difficult for someone to find employment.
“Employer attitudes to people with disability can be a huge barrier to hiring…and to giving [people with a disability] the flexibility and supports [they] may need at work.” Mr Smith adds.
PWDA is calling for a long term plan to ensure that those with a disability are able to find and sustain employment.
Mr Smith says, “We want to see the Australian Government develop a National Jobs Plan for people with disability, that looks at every barrier, and every part of the employment picture.”
Less than 25% of people with disability with an NDIS plan are in work, and half of those people are working in sheltered workshops, or Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs).
“As part of the National Jobs Plan, we want to see a fund set up to start to transition people with disability out of sheltered workshops, and into open employment where they are paid a decent wage, instead of a few dollars an hour,” says Mr Smith.
A lack of knowledge and funding for disability work supports has been flagged as a part of the recommendations.
Job Access, a Government program, provides information, accessible equipment and services to assist with disability employment. They currently provide information for people with a disability, employers and service providers.
Mr Smith says “we are calling for significantly increased investment, as well as making the [Job Access] program available for job seekers.”
Many employers and job seekers are not aware that Job Access is available to assist them.
Mr Smith says that to assist with making employers more aware of the services offered to them as well as any legal obligations, more information needs to be made available.
As a part of the recommendations made in the proposal, PWDA has also called on the Government to develop a national advertising campaign to tackle discrimination and attitudes toward people with disability at work.
You can view the full submission here.