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Lack of opportunities for disabled ‘a national shame’

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HC Online | 09 Dec 2011, 12:01 AM Agree 0
Employers and recruiters unwittingly impose a ‘glass ceiling’ on disabled Australians, largely due to a lack of infrastructure and understanding.

  • Bob Buckley | 09 Dec 2011, 02:49 PM Agree 0
    Actually, the PwC report said 21st of 29 for disability employment, but far worst (27th out of 27) for poverty of Australians with a disability. Already, Australia is by far the worst OECD country for poverty of people with a disability, which includes many of its most vulnerable citizens. The Business Council of Australia (BCA), representing the top 100 Australian companies, questions whether funding for disability support should keep pace with the growing number of people with a disability (see http://a4.org.au/a4/node/324 and http://www.bca.com.au/DisplayFile.aspx?FileID=703) without any plan for increasing employment for people whose support would reduce.
    How many Australian companies have an HR plan to includes an appropriate percentage of employees with a disability?
    The situation is even worse for some subgroups of people with a disability. For example, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports outcomes for the rapidly growing number of people diagnosed with autism (see http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4428.0): "the labour force participation rate for people with autism was 34%. This compares with 54% labour force participation rate for people with disabilities and 83% for people without disabilities."
    Around half the people with autism have Asperger's Disorder ... few of them have physical or intellectual incapacity yet they cannot get jobs, and not through lack of trying.
    Shame on Government and business.
  • Karen Trutwein | 09 Dec 2011, 05:48 PM Agree 0
    Australia needs to lift its game when it comes to employing people with disabilities. The situation is a disgrace. We need to look to places like the UK, where it is becoming more usual to provide training for employers so they will be willing and able to emply people with disabilities. It's a matter of human rights, surely. Not to mention rampant discrimination. As the parent of a child with autism I have a very personal interest in seeing this situation things improve.
  • Karen Trutwein | 09 Dec 2011, 08:24 PM Agree 0
    i wholeheartedly agree with Bob Buckley's comments. As a pparent of a child on the autism spectrum, I want to see employers recognising the capacity of people with autism and other disabilities to contribute to the workplace. it is a matter of human rights and of ending discrimination. Come on Australia, you can do so much better.
  • Karna ODea | 10 Dec 2011, 03:31 PM Agree 0
    It is a very poor reflection on the Australian Commonwealth and state governments who should make a real effort to include a decent number of people with disabilities in their workforces and big businesses who always want concessions from government but often do not support disadvantaged sector of their local communities. All organisations should be expected to included disabled people into their workforce planning especially those like people with Asperger syndrome who may have social deficits but are not intellectually impaired. Social engineering by government policy can usually sway the trend and increase opportunities for disabled people.

  • Michelle DeVanney | 10 Dec 2011, 10:17 PM Agree 0
    If i had known before i emigrated to Australia with my young family about their disabilities i would never have moved. I now fear for their future in the employment sector. Let alone their strughles through education with little and no help. Shame on this Government. Gillard Government you need to wake up. Get your heads out if the sand. Do something now..
  • James Eggleton | 11 Dec 2011, 10:45 AM Agree 0
    So HR departments across Australia are themselves guilty of violating the workplace policies that they are charged with administrating i.e. equity, diversity, equal opportunity etc. I am particularly worried about the current unemployment rate for Australians with an autism spectrum disorder especially given the 1 in 100+ prevalence in younger people who will be seeking paid employment in the next 5 to 10+ years. These unemployment and poverty statistics qualify as a national emergency that demands a commensurate response from the government and industry (I see many parallels between the NT Aboriginal Intervention and a disability intervention). Failure to act now would amount to an act of treachery.
  • Naomi Anderson | 12 Dec 2011, 12:53 PM Agree 0
    As an HR practitioner I know it is not always easy to go outside the norm and take a chance. But the benefits are substantial. If you want your staff to be proud of working with you, show them you are respectful of people of all abilities, and show them it can be done. If you want to live in a world where we can be proud as a nation of our ability to provide real work opportunities to all people to use their skills and talents, lead the way by ensuring that your board of management is fully committed to removing the barriers to employing people with a disability. Not easy, agreed, but nothing worthwhile doing ever is. And people with a disability have a perspective you just may need in your search for innovative solutions.
  • Brian Hull | 13 Dec 2011, 03:33 PM Agree 0
    It is not just people with disabilities - ageism is very much alive and well. All people should be judged by their capacity to undertake and successfully complete the job. Hiring clones is not very good HR practice.
  • Sarah | 04 Jan 2012, 10:18 AM Agree 0
    This video goes for 11 mins, but well worth watching - it shows how much employing those with disabilities can lift morale amongst all staff members. Such an inspiration: http://vimeo.com/31125476
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