Advocates demand stronger targets for disability employment

NDIS Minister Stuart Robert has presented a plan that 30 percent of program participants should work by 2023

The Morrison government needs to create stronger targets for employment with disabilities and ensure that all people with disabilities are fairly paid in their jobs, advocates say.

People with Disabilities Australia said it welcomed the government’s new employment strategy for people in the National Disability Insurance System but needs to be more ambitious.

The to plan – launched by NDIS Minister Stuart Robert on Thursday – has set itself the goal of employing 30 percent of employees of working age by June 30, 2023. The rate is currently around 24 percent.

‘The aim of this strategy is to enable more people with disabilities who have the desire and ability to work to have better access to the right support to help them achieve their employment goals, while removing the barriers they may encounter trying to join Finding a job face to face, “said Robert.

Jeff Smith, CEO of PWDA, told Pro Bono News that he was deeply concerned that half of the NDIS attendees employed were working in Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) or sheltered workshops for a few dollars an hour.

ADEs, which offer supported employment opportunities, have been criticized by advocates of disability for paying very low wages and because less than 1 percent of workers move to normal employment.

“We want to see an end to NDIS support for this kind of obsolete and unfair work and commit to supporting people with disabilities in open employment,” said Smith.

Current data have shown Only 33 percent of NDIS recipients over 25 have a regular job with full premium wages.

Smith said he was also concerned that only 53 percent of people with disabilities worked in Australia, compared with 82 percent of non-disabled people.

He found that this inequality had remained constant for many years – meaning no progress had been made.

“We want to see meaningful work from a national employment plan that is beginning to break down the barriers we face in finding and maintaining a job, such as discrimination and inaccessibility in the workplace,” he said.

The government’s employment strategy has several main priorities, including increasing the employment targets in NDIS plans, better controlling people with disabilities over their employment pathways, and improving employers’ confidence in hiring NDIS participants.

The National Disability Insurance Agency has also vowed to lead by example as an employer.

PWDA previously requested one Aim of an employment rate of 51 percent for disabled people at all levels of the NDIA, including the executive level.

As of June 30, 2019, the agency has 11.85 percent of its employees with disabilities.

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