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Thursday, 16 June 2011
Page: 3227

Veterans' Affairs: Staffing

(Question No. 630)

Senator Siewert asked the Minister representing the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, upon notice, on 27 April 2011:

With reference to the department and the agencies within the Minister's portfolio:

(1) What is the total number of staff currently employed.

(2) What is the total number of staff with a disability currently employed.

(3) What policies or programs are in place to encourage the recruitment of people with a disability.

(4) What retention strategies are in place for people with a disability.

(5) What career pathways or plans are on offer for people with a disability; if none, why.

(6) Are there any specific targets for recruitment and retention; if not, why not.

(7) What policies, programs or services are there to support staff with a disability.

(8) Can details be provided of any policies, programs, services or plans currently under development within the department and its agencies, concerning the employment of people with a disability.

Senator Chris Evans: The Minister for Veterans' Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA):

(1) As at 1 May 2011 DVA employed 2036 staff.

(2) As at 1 May 2011 35 staff identified themselves as having a disability.

(3); (4); (5); (7) and (8):

The DVA Workplace Diversity and Action Plan 2011-2015 is aimed at promoting diversity and encouraging employment of under-represented groups. It reinforces the relevant legislative framework, identifies key responsibilities for the employer, managers and employees, articulates principles and actions concerning leadership and recruitment, and offers practical support in the form of reasonable adjustment to assist people with a disability in the workplace.

In addition, a work experience program for people with a disability is currently being trialled in Western Australia and a position for a person with a disability has been identified in future graduate intakes. Complementing these measures, it has also recently been agreed that a separate Disability Employment Strategy be developed. DVA's Workforce Strategy 2010-2015 also commits DVA to "evaluating initiatives to attract and retain people from underrepresented groups" which echoes the Government's commitment in the Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration.

DVA's supportive work environment which encourages retention of staff with a disability includes:

significant leadership development,

reasonable adjustment measures,

workplace harassment education and awareness raising and

flexible working arrangements.

(6) A specific target for disability employment has not been adopted, except in relation to graduate recruitment (as outlined in response to question 5 above). As there is currently no APS-wide target for disability employment, DVA, like the majority of agencies, does not consider it appropriate to adopt an arbitrary target. If there is an APS-wide target adopted in the future, like for Indigenous employment, DVA would incorporate that target into its related policies and strategies. DVA is committed to increasing the numbers of, and support for, under-represented groups, including people with disabilities, as evidenced through the recent launch of the DVA Workplace Diversity and Action Plan 2011-2015, the commitment to develop a Disability Employment Strategy and other initiatives outlined above.

Australian War Memorial (AWM) :

(1) As at 30 April 2011 the AWM employed 304 staff.

(2) As at 30 April 2011 seven staff identified themselves as having a disability.

(3) AWM Workplace Diversity Program 2010 - 2012.

(4) The AWM Workplace Diversity Program seeks to ensure that employees with disabilities are afforded opportunities to utilise their diverse skills. The program also aims to help employees with disabilities balance their work and personal life.

(5) AWM employees are encouraged to complete Personal Development Plans (PDPs) each year in consultation with their line managers. These PDPs are used to assist each member of staff in achieving their career goals.

(6) The AWM seeks to achieve a representation of employees with disabilities that either meets or exceeds the proportion of people identified as possessing a disability within the broader ACT community.

(7) The AWM Workplace Diversity Program provides support for staff with disabilities.

(8) The AWM Workplace Diversity Program will be reviewed in 2012.