New figures show disabled still not entering workforce

by Iain Hopkins08 Apr 2013

One of Australia’s foremost charities has pointed to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data which shows a staggering increase in the number of Australians receiving the disability pension, as evidence that people with disabilities are still shunned from the workforce.

Mission Australia has said a 280% increase in the number of people on the disability pension since the 1980s is unacceptable, and proof that workplaces are not making the right concessions to allow more disabled workers to transition into the workforce. “There are a number of people who could and should be helped back into the workforce, who should be participating, who genuinely actually want to participate, but who are not getting the support they should be,” Chief executive Toby Hall told ABC.

Hall says the figures highlight a need for a review of the disability support pension system to help people get back into the workforce – the key issue is a sheer lack of opportunity and training for people who want to return to work. “They're put onto this pension, it doesn't get much support to help them get back into work, and we're saying is it not time to stop and do something different to help them get back into work, if that's what they want to do,” Hall said.

Hall added that many disabled Australians have a hard time entering the workforce and issued a challenge to Australian employers. “You look at most workplaces in Australia, and I challenge people to look at your own workplace and say genuinely, 'How many disabled people are around me working', and often the answer is, 'Well not many'. "We're questioning 'why is that?'


  • by De Backman-Hoyle 8/04/2013 5:18:28 PM

    It is so sad to see that we as a community have been unprepared to embrace those with disabilities as equal and worthy contributors to the Australian workforce.
    I think it comes down to a distressing fact that at the core we actively discriminate against those with disabilities and we dress it up with all types of illegitimate rationale and some how make ourselves feel self righteous in the process.
    As someone who advocates for those with both mental illnesses and disabilities I am ashamed, and quite frankly frustrated that we dont seem to cut through to the essence of the problem which is simply our obligation under human rights law to stop the discrimination.
    As someone with 30 years work history I do think it is getting worse not better, diversity was embraced more openly in some sectors in the 80's than it seems to be now, am I imagining such things? am I being sentimental for more gentle times? I dont know? all I know for certain is that we need to become active in the desire for change

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