State governments announce targets to increase disability employment

Posted 6 years ago by Alexandra Stopford
Three governments have introduced employment rate targets for people with disability in the public sector (Source: Shutterstock)
Three governments have introduced employment rate targets for people with disability in the public sector (Source: Shutterstock)

Three state Governments are taking the lead to increase workforce participation rates for people living with disability within the public sector with the introduction and future planning of employment rate targets.

The step towards growing the numbers of people with disability within the public sector comes following a position statement put forward by Vision 2020 Australia in October 2017, which called for meaningful employment for people with disability in the Australian Public Services (APS).

The targets, set by each government from Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, will aim to increase the workforce participation rate of people living with a disability from its current rate of 53.4 percent within the next nine years.

Victoria’s public service disability employment rate target was announced as 6 per cent by 2020 in February and will see a further increase of up to 12 percent by 2025.

Victorian Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing, Martin Foley, says the 6 percent target is set for across all Victorian Government departments, adding that future targets are expected to be set.

“Like anyone else, people with disability can work, and want to work – yet many Victorians still face barriers to entering the workforce,” he says.

“We are charting a path to change – and we all need to grab the opportunity and deliver for some of the most vulnerable in our community.”

He addst that their ‘Every Opportunity’ plan includes 21 actions to improve work, study and business opportunities for Victorians with disability, and is backed by a $2.6 million investment from the Labor Government to “address discrimination, barriers and attitudes that prevent people with a disability from getting work”.

Victoria’s target and commitment stands alongside the Queensland Government’s target to reach 8 percent by 2022, and the New South Wales state Government who are aiming for 5.6 percent by 2027.

Vision 2020 Australia, who was behind the October position statement and part of a recent Parliamentary Friends Group event around employment, disability and inclusive workplaces, has welcomed the employment rate goals, with Vision 2020 Australia Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Carla Northam applauding the three state governments for their leadership, but also highlighting the importance for the announced participation plans to be “met with real action”.

“Access to meaningful employment free from discrimination is a fundamental human right for all Australians,” Ms Northam says

“People with disability have a range of skills, capabilities and interests to bring to the workforce. Setting specific measurable targets and establishing a plan to meet them is an effective way to improve disability inclusion in the workplace, improving accountability and transparency.”

Ms Northam also hopes the Australian Government will step up and implement a workforce participation target of 7 per cent by 2023, noting a “consistent decline” in the inclusion of people who identify as having a disability in the APS workforce.

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