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Increased Disability Employment Would Pay for NDIS -Report

16 May 2012 at 10:58 am
Staff Reporter
A report to the Australian Network on Disability (AND) National Conference shows that increased employment participation by Australians with disability would more than cover the costs for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Staff Reporter | 16 May 2012 at 10:58 am


Increased Disability Employment Would Pay for NDIS -Report
16 May 2012 at 10:58 am

A report to the Australian Network on Disability (AND) National Conference shows that increased employment participation by Australians with disability would more than cover the costs for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The AND report says that Australia’s GDP could be increased by $43 billion over the next decade if more Australians with disability were included in the nation’s workforce.

The study, commissioned by AND and undertaken by Deloitte Access Economics, finds that GDP would increase by $43 billion over the next decade in real dollar terms just by governments and employers increasing the current employment rate for Australians with disabilities by one-third over the next decade (from 54% to 64%).

AND says that at present, only half of the 2.2 million Australians of working age with a disability are employed, compared to nearly 80% of Australians of working age without disability.

“Closing this gap by one-third is an achievable – even a conservative – target. Many nations, including New Zealand, have already achieved or surpassed these benchmarks and are already reaping the economic rewards,” the report says.

Chief Executive of the Australian Network on Disability, (an employer-led organisation on disability), Suzanne Colbert said that a recent Federal Government consultation process involving people with disabilities around the nation found that the vast majority of Australians with disability were able to work and very much wanted to do so.

“The consultations, conducted as part of formulating the 2010-2020 National Disability Strategy, found that many of the 2.2 million Australians of working age classified as having a disability wished to work and be as financially independent as possible," Colbert said. 

“This finding includes a significant number of the more than 800,000 Australians currently reliant on the Disability Support Pension as their sole or main source of income, many of whom said they felt they could work if the necessary supports were in place and if more employers were willing to give them a go.” 

She said surveys had also shown that while Australian employers are receptive to the idea of employing people with disability, in practice they find it difficult and many are unsure about any possible work health and safety risks and additional costs.

“This results point to the urgent need for employers, governments and industry bodies to work together to build employer confidence and promote the many benefits of employing people with disability.

“Governments are already taking steps to improve employment participation rates, but what is now required is government investment to make it easier for employers to engage in recruitment activities that are risk-managed, costed and have demonstrated successes.

"Many employers and industry bodies are well placed to guide relevant and timely programs that will increase and develop the skills of jobseekers with disability, thereby increasing their employability.

“Apart from all the benefits of employment to individuals themselves who want to work, the Access Economics report launched by AND demonstrates conclusively that there is strong economic imperative for removing current barriers and increasing the employment participation rate of Australians with disabilities,” Colbert said.

AND has called on the Government to:


  • Set a goal to improve Australia’s performance on the inclusion of people with disability by ten percent over the next ten years.
  • Engage industry and employers to develop effective demand strategies to achieve the goal
  • Capitalise on the skills and talents of the many people with disability who want to work.

Download the full report in PDF or Word.





  • The National Disability Strategy already says “equity” is its goal. If PwD have 54% workforce participation, and Australia generally has 83%, then we need a goal of 29% … not 10% as suggested above … to achieve the existing goal.
    BTW, the data says people with autism (most of whom have little or no physical or intellectual disability) currently achieve only 34% labour force participation (see

  • Andrew Evans says:

    I am a Quadriplegic and I have been disabled for 11 years and working for the past 4 years.

    When you start looking for employment you seriously have to weigh up if it is worth working. The rules and restrictions with Centrelink especially if you’re married or classed as a couple really deter you from working.

    There is a fundamental flaw with the current Centrelink income rules that are in place which is the greatest deterrent for people with a disability trying to find employment and a rule that has a far worse financial impact for people that receive the Carers pension.

    The flaw I am referring to is how the income rules affect Carers who are a partner of a recipient who receives DSP, Aged, Veteran etc. – who is working and vice versa. I am well aware of the rules and how they disadvantage those who are on the pension as my wife and I have been receiving the DSP and Carers pension for 11 years now.

    When I work I report my earnings and lose half my pension which is fair enough as I am the one who is earning an Income but Centrelink also halve my wife who isn’t working her Carers pension as well which puts her in a financially dependent role which is utterly unfair and which I believe contradicts the Carers Act 2010.

    The fact that the Carers of Australia put in a full time and work load each fortnight caring for their partner and then get paid half for their effort which equals to $150 a week is disgusting.

    People receiving a Carers pension should be exempt from the income rules regardless if they are a couple or not. Carers already have a difficult job as it is and to be paid half for a full time job is nothing more than a slap in the face and to mention that they save the government millions of dollars per year by keeping their love ones out of care and respite homes full time.

    The way Centrelink takes half of the Carers pension full knowing what type of work these carers are doing can only be put as a money saving scheme.

    It doesn’t make a lot of difference how many hours that your allowed to work the greatest issue for someone on the DSP is the financial strain that their Partner/Carer will be forced to endure once they after lucky enough to find suitable employment.

    I have written many letters to Centrelink which is a dead end as they reply with the same generic letter. I have emailed the QLD State representatives and the CEO involved in the NDIS to help highlight this situation and have heard nothing. Everyone I have spoken to over the years who is in and not in this catch 22 position are gob smacked when I tell them what we have to contend with.

    I like many other Australians who can’t get off the pension due to having a high level of disability should not have their Partners/Carers subjected to such financial hardship especially when they are saving the government millions per year..
    This is a demoralising situation which I and everyone else on the DSP/Carers pensions have to face only because no one is addressing this problem. The Carers of Australia deserve better and a right to a better life than what they are currently subjected to.

    How would anyone like to have a 24/7 job and then learn that they are going to lose half of their personal income all because they decided to look after their disabled partner who is lucky enough to have employment and earning an income?


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