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Disability employment paper to be released ahead of jobs summit

More employers should take on workers with disabilities, Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth says as she prepares to reform the nation’s disability employment services.

Rishworth will on Monday release the consultation report for the new Disability Employment Services model, which the previous Coalition government received earlier this year. It is one of the first papers to be released ahead of the September jobs summit, where disability employment and reducing barriers to employment will be a key topic.

Just 53.4 percent of people with disabilities are in the labor force, compared with 84.1 percent of those without disabilities.Credit:Izabela Habur

“Hiring someone with disability should not be seen as an optional or charitable act,” Rishworth said.

“People with disabilities bring diverse skills and experiences and make significant contributions to the workplace … There is an amazing, skilled workforce that is sadly underutilized. Hiring a person with disability makes good business sense and is good for the nation.”

The current Disability Employment Services program concludes on June 30 next year, and will be replaced by the new model, which the Social Services Department is currently designing, aided by the consultation report.

The report highlighted issues raised from stakeholders including the need to reduce barriers for people with disabilities to allow better access to employment services; better support for those participating; and the need to develop and retain an appropriately skilled workforce.

Rishworth will also host a Disability Employment Roundtable later this month, prior to the Jobs Summit.

“Through my experience as a local member and as a clinical psychologist, I am aware of issues people with disabilities face in gaining employment and how detrimental unemployment can be for physical, emotional and mental well-being,” the minister said.

“We want to work with people with disability, their families, carers and others to ensure that disability employment policies and programs are well targeted and meet the needs of people with disability.”

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