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Monday, 28 February 2011
Page: 1699

Debate resumed, on motion by Mrs Moylan:

That this House:

(1)   appreciates that meaningful employment is essential to the financial security, physical and mental health and sense of identity of all individuals;

(2)   remains concerned with the low workforce participation rate of individuals with a disability;

(3)   recognises the challenges faced by people with a disability in successfully obtaining work, particularly in surmounting barriers;

(4)   notes that:

(a)   eighteen and a half per cent of all Australians suffer from a disability;

(b)   data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals that since 1993, workplace participation for people with a disability has steadily decreased to 53.2 per cent, compared to the continual increase of participation in those without disability to 80.6 per cent; and

(c)   the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Statistical Bulletin shows employment of people with a disability in the Australian Public Service has linearly dropped from a high of 5.5 per cent in 1996, to 3.1 per cent in 2010;

(5)   acknowledges the findings of chapters 2.4 (‘The employment experience of people with disabilities’) and 2.5.2 (‘Lack of Access to Transport’) of the National Disability Strategy Consultation Report, Shut Out, that:

(a)   there are still widespread misconceptions and stereotypes influencing the attitudes and behaviour of employers, recruiters and governments;

(b)   there is considerable misunderstanding in the community and overestimation about the cost of workplace adjustments for people with a disability;

(c)   there is confusion about the impact of occupational health and safety requirements on people with a disability;

(d)   inflexibility of the Disability Support Pension acts as a disincentive to employment and the loss of healthcare benefits is a particular disadvantage; and

(e)   without access to transport, participation in critical activities such as education, employment and healthcare is difficult, if not impossible; and

(6)   calls on the Government to provide leadership and improve participation rates of people with a disability.