Striving for an inclusive Australian workforce

December 3 is the 25th anniversary of the United Nations-sanctioned International Day of People with Disability. The theme for this year is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all”.

The federal government is working on initiatives that will transform the life experience of people with disability, including through improved support to find and keep employment. More than 14 per cent of people who are of working age have a disability, yet only 8.8 per cent of are in the workforce.

I am acutely aware of the challenges facing people with disability and the need to overcome the preconceptions of employers, as well as the barriers people with disability experience in the workplace.

Earlier this month, I launched AccessAbility Day, which is being trialled in eight locations around Australia from December 4-8. This government initiative employers and people with disability together and opens the doors for employers to a new pool of talented and capable individuals.

I encourage all employers to consider the benefits of employing people with disability. For more information, the best place to start is the government’s JobAccess Service, the national hub for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers and service providers.

For those of you not familiar with JobAccess, I encourage you to visit the website or call a JobAccess adviser for free, tailored and confidential disability employment support. Visit the JobAccess website at www.jobaccess.gov.au or phone 1800 464 800.

For more information on AccessAbility Day, or to register for the day as an employer or a person with disability, visit www.jobaccess.gov.au/accessabilityday

For more information on International Day of People with Disability, visit www.idpwd.com.au

Jane Prentice is federal assistant minister for Social Services and Disability Services.

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