Disability & Carer Workforce Dropping - COAG Report
24 May 2013 at 5:56 pm
The number of people working with a disability has taken a major backward step- being at its lowest in three years – with many still living below the poverty line, according to a new report on disability services.
The COAG Reform Council Report: Disability 2011–12: Comparing performance across Australia, compared performance across Australia and found people who received the Disability Support Pension were less likely to be working than three years ago.
The proportion of people who received the Disability Support Pension and reported earnings from other sources declined from 9.3 per cent to 8.6 per cent nationally.
However the report found that the proportion of people with disability receiving the Newstart or Youth Allowance, who reported earnings, went up from 14 per cent to 16.3 per cent.
More than 800 000 people receive the Disability Support Pension and 121 291 people with disability received the Newstart or Youth Allowance in 2012.
COAG Chairman John Brumby said while there had been some improvements in the proportion of people with disability using specialist services to allow independence, the report found a decrease in the workforce by people with disability and their carers.
“We found that despite some good work by governments, barriers still exist for Australians with disability,” he said.
“In Australia almost half the population of people with disability lives in poverty or near poverty -earning, on average, about half as much as people without disability.
“There is still some way to go before people with disability have the same opportunities as other Australians.”
“These inequalities are even more acutely experienced by people with disability who are Indigenous or who were born in non-English speaking countries,” Brumby said.
Carers also faced challenges in the labour force, according to the report.
The report found working-age carers of people with disability were less likely to be in the labour force with 53.7per cent of primary carers in the labour force compared with 79.9 per cent of non-carers in 2009.
Almost 60 per cent of primary carers said they experienced negative impacts arising from their caring role (62.5 per cent for women and 48.4 per cent for men).
On a positive note, the COAG report said there was an increase in the number of people who used disability services which focused on empowerment and wellbeing. The biggest increase was for people under 25 years.
There was also an increase in the use of Commonwealth open-employment services—particularly among younger people.
The council will release reports on the National Indigenous Reform Agreement and the National Affordable Housing Agreement early next month.
The report can be downloaded at http://www.coagreformcouncil.gov.au/reports/disability/disability-2011-12-comparing-performance-across-australia