Employment Opportunities Look Grim for People with a Disability

Samaritans CEO

Did you know over 4 million people in Australia have some form of disability? That is 1 in 5 people. Yet Australia has one of the lowest rates of employment for people with a disability in the developed world. Nor are we seeing any improvement in this area with the labour force participation rate for people with a disability barely changing over the last 20 years. This is simply not good enough.

With the NDIS rolling out across Australia I hope participants will benefit not only from voice, choice and control around their supports but also greater employment opportunities.

The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme, an initiative of the Federal Government is a step in the right direction- offering people with a disability access to training and support services through the Disability Employment Service.

However, this year I would like to see the development of the National Disability Employment Framework prioritised by the Federal Government. I encourage entrepreneurship to be promoted in the Framework as an area of employment opportunity for people with a disability, currently the consultation process has not accounted for this. There are many benefits of self-employment for individuals and people with a disability should have access to this same opportunity.

Australian Disability Enterprises supports people with a disability to participate in work tasks. Whilst this initiative has been successful there is room for improvement to offer more choice to individuals by expanding the breadth of employment opportunities on offer.

Until Australia embraces and promotes employment opportunities for all, including people with a disability, we are not working to our full potential.

Samaritans is a charity that assists thousands of people in need throughout Newcastle & the Hunter. Find out how Samaritans can help you here