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Education and Employment

Reforms critical to increase employment of persons with disabilities

man in wheelchair working in the office

Businesses, now more than ever, must think outside the box when it comes to new hires, ensuring that they choose employees who are capable of doing the job, not just those they’ve always hired.  Supporting persons with disabilities to participate in the workforce is fundamental to achieving a modern and diverse workforce.

In its submission on the New Disability Employment Support Model released today, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) outlined its proposal to support more persons with disabilities to get into work, while supporting employers to recruit and retain these valuable staff.

“The benefits of getting persons with disabilities into a job are many.  A rewarding career benefits the individual while employers can access a wider pool of talent and skills to meet staff shortages, supporting business, and further growing the economy,” ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.

“The workforce participation rate for persons with disabilities is 53.4 per cent.  By contrast, 84.1 per cent of people without disability participate in the labour force.

“While greater workforce participation for people with disability should always be a key aim, with the skills and labour shortage across Australia now at crisis point, there has never been a better time to create additional employment opportunities.”

“Reforms to achieve that ambition should be bold and aim for a significant increase in participation rates, not just seeking to make a marginal improvement.”

ACCI’s submission makes a number of key recommendations, including:

  • reintegrating the service for people with disability back into the core employment system to create a more effective single contact service for employers and to maximise the value of the reforms being made to the core employment services;
  • making improvements aimed at supporting employers to recruit and retain people with disability, including targeted guidance about capacity for work, available support, and navigating legal obligations; and
  • reforming the Youth Jobs PaTH program and extending it to people with disability, which not only will provide both work experience and skills, but also lead to an improvement of involvement of employers who have not previously (or recently) engaged with the publicly funded employment services.

“ACCI looks forward to continuing to represent employers on the Disability Employment Services Reference Group and working towards securing tangible enhancements to disability employment support throughout 2022,” Mr McKellar added.

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