September Jobs and Skills Summit – What It Means for People With Disability.

Disability employment and reducing barriers to employment were put under the spotlight at the Jobs and Skills Summit (the Summit) held at Parliament House earlier this month.

Various community organisations, employers, unions, governments, charities and professional associations gathered to address Australia’s economic challenges and propose solutions to create improved opportunities for more Australians.

Treasury circulated a Jobs and Skills Summit Issues Paper for discussion at the Summit. The paper highlighted that people with disability are one group that still face barriers to secure and well-paid employment.


What does the Jobs and Skills Summit mean for people with disability?

Before the Summit, Social Services Minister, Amanda Rishworth released a consultation report highlighting the core issues impacting the underemployment of people with disability. These included:

  • the need to reduce barriers to allow better access to employment services
  • better workplace participation support
  • better development and retention of a skilled workforce.

Key findings were discussed at a Disability Employment Roundtable held before the Summit and shaped the Minister’s Job Summit submission.

Minister Rishworth used the roundtable and the Summit as an opportunity to work with people with disability and their families and carers to ensure policies reflect their employment needs.

The Summit recommendations will help reform the disability employment sector and shape the new Disability Employment Services model coming into effect in July 2023.

The reform comes with a pledge from the Minister that people living with disability will have access to the employment support they deserve.


Why people with disability make great employees

Working age people with disability are still over-represented in unemployment figures despite bringing diverse skills and experience to the workplace. People with disability contribute to a diverse workplace that celebrates various working styles and capabilities.

Minister Rishworth is a strong advocate for reducing employment barriers:

“People with disability bring diverse skills and experiences and make significant contributions to the workplace … There is an amazing, skilled workforce that is sadly underutilised. Hiring a person with disability makes good business sense and is good for the nation.”2

An Employer’s Guide To Employing Someone With Disability addresses some employment myths. Australian and international studies show:

  • People with disability take fewer days off, are more loyal and have a higher retention rate
  • People with disability are no less productive than other employees
  • Insurance and compensation costs are lower as people with disability have fewer accidents. Recruitment costs are also lower.
  • People with disability are ready to work, want to contribute to the workforce and want the same opportunities as everyone else.


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