International Day of People With Disability
3 December 2013 at 10:20 am
Breaking barriers and opening doors is the theme of International Day of People with Disability today but new data indicates that barriers are increasing and more doors to employment are closed to jobseekers with disability.
New data from Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates that the workforce participation of people with disability went backwards from 54.3 per cent to 52.8 per cent during the period 2009 to 2012 – an indicator that many people gave up looking for work.
Today’s global celebration marks 21 years of raising awareness and promoting an understanding of people with a disability. However despite good intentions and significant reforms peak Not for Profit organisations say there has been disappointing job results for people with disability.
“Jobseekers with disability found it harder to find a job, and unemployment went up (from 7.8 per cent to 9.4 per cent in the period 2009-2012), further widening the unemployment gap between those with disability and those without,” Australian Network on Disability’s CEO Suzanne Colbert said.
Colbert said that statistics for people with disability had regressed over the past 10 years, despite good intentions and significant reforms.
“A decade of stagnation indicates that it’s time for change,” Colbert said. “What’s more concerning is that there is no government blueprint for the future that will link skilled and talented jobseekers with disability to industry growth sectors.
“A demand-led employment approach that puts people with disability and employers at the heart is required.
“Given the new government’s focus on productivity, new opportunities need to be created.
“It’s time to create high success rate programs that put talented people with disability and employers at the heart of the system.
“Boosting the workforce participation of people with disability will allow these jobseekers to share in Australia’s economic prosperity, and to help businesses reflect the community in which they operate.”
More than 750 community events will be held across Australia to celebrate the 21st anniversary of International Day of People with Disability.
Celebrated around the world, International Day of People with Disability provides an opportunity to highlight the contributions people with disability make every day to their communities, and to try and make a difference to the lives of four million Australians with disability.
International Day of People with Disability Patron, Professor Ron McCallum, encouraged Australians to use this day to reflect and celebrate what has happened over the past 21 years, and to think about what can be done over the next 21 years.
“What today means for me as a person who was born blind and have lived my life not letting my disability impact my ability, is significant,” Prof McCallum said.
“We want to work, we want to contribute and we want to be part of the community.”
Prof McCallum said last week’s celebration of the National Disability Awards showcased the outstanding achievements people and organisations made to people living in our community with a disability.
“This week, the community celebrations across Australia will highlight just how much support there is for building a more inclusive society,” Prof McCallum said.
“What this shows is how far we as a nation have progressed to help raise awareness of the issues faced by people with disability, and I encourage people to today talk to someone with disability to find out they are exactly like you—with loves, fears hopes and dreams.
“If we all become more aware, we will together become a better community.”