Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

More Australians using disability employment services

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Jenny Macklin

More Australians with disabilities are using Australian Government employment services according to new figures contained in the Australian Government Disability Services Census 2007 report.

Over 82,000 people used open and supported employment services to help them find a job – an increase of over seven per cent on the previous year.

Of these, over 61 per cent were employed for some or all of the time during the 2006/07 financial year.

People with intellectual disability using the services were most likely to be employed (84.1 per cent) while those with a physical or psychiatric disability face the greatest challenges in finding employment.

The Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said while the numbers were encouraging there was still much to be done to support people with disability enter and stay in the workforce.

“For example, the Census report shows that women are under-represented in using services and employment outcomes for Indigenous Australians lag behind.

“The Government recognises the contribution people with disability can make and the considerable benefits which flow from their participation in the workforce – both economically and socially.”

“That’s why we are developing the National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy to set out clear and practical steps for government to expand employment opportunities for people with disability and mental illness,” Ms Macklin said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten said many businesses in Australia were recognising the value of employing people with disability and giving them the same rights and responsibilities as other workers.

“We need to do more to improve employment opportunities for people with disability. Australia can not afford to dismiss the contribution people with disability can make and the value of including people with disability in the workforce.”

“Employers who employ people with disability say they have better attendance records, remain longer and have fewer injuries at work than those without a disability.

“The benefits for employers include increased productivity, diversity and availability of workers, while benefits for employees with disability include improving skills, motivation and independence,” Mr Shorten said.

The report can be found at: Disability Services Census 2007