‘We need to see action’: Disability advocates present plan to end barriers to work
17 February 2020 at 4:50 pm
The plan has been labelled a down payment on the future of people with disability
With just 53 per cent of working age people with disability in paid work, a peak disability body is launching a $100 million plan to help more people with disability land, and keep a job.
The plan, released on Monday by People With Disability Australia (PWDA), is calling for the federal government to develop a national jobs plan that will look at “every barrier, and every part of the employment picture”.
This includes a fund set up to transition people with disability out of sheltered workshops and into open employment that pays a decent wage, and for the National Disability Insurance Scheme to move away from supporting sheltered workshops.
Moving people with disability into open employment has been an ongoing issue for disability advocates. Over half of the people on NDIS plans who are in work, are working in sheltered workshops where wages can be as low as a few dollars an hour.
The plan is also calling for a national advertising campaign to tackle disability discrimination in the workplace and increased funding for Job Access – a government program aimed at driving disability employment.
Jeff Smith, PWDA CEO, said the plan was a down payment in the economic future of people with disability across Australia.
“We know that many people with disability find that outdated attitudes, a lack of flexibility and accessibility can make getting and keeping a job incredibly hard,” Smith said.
“We believe that the measures outlined in our plan will contribute significantly to removing the barriers people with disability face, and make it possible for many people with disability to enter and stay in employment.”
Compared with other OECD countries, Australia ranks 21 out of 29 in employment participation rates for people with disability.
Smith said he wanted to see the plan taken seriously by the government and not just be a “talk fest”.
“People with disability need to see action,” he said.