Friday, Feb 6th, 2015

Australian Greens spokesperson on Disability Senator Rachel Siewert has labelled a decline in work force participation for people with disability over 20 years as ‘a sign that our government is not doing nearly enough to create equity in the workplace for people with disability’.

“Figures revealed yesterday by the Bureau of Statistics show that a higher percentage of people with a disability were employed or looking for work in the 90’s than in 2012.

“Between 1993 and 2012, the labour force participation rate for working-age people (15-64 years) with disability declined. In 1993, the rate was 54.9%, in 2012 it had dipped to 52.8%.

“This is simply not good enough, I have no doubt that these figures will worsen if there is not drastic action. Rather than working to increase employment for people with disability, there have been clear cuts to the sector that will only make things worse.

“Last year the Disability Discrimination Commissioner position was folded into the Aged Discrimination Commissioner, the loss of this role as a standalone position will undoubtedly have an impact. Particularly as the majority of complains to the Commission on disability are about employment. More recently, cuts to disability organisations by the Minister for Social Services has sent shockwaves through the community, who relied on these services for support and community engagement.”

“The Australian Greens support workforce improvements driven through the provision of training, development and personal support for disability support workers, more must be done in this sector. It is obvious that reform needs to be made to disability employment. The Government should stop demonising people with disability and support them to find and maintain employment.