Increased Disability Employment Would Pay for NDIS -Report
Wednesday, 16th 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.