Stalled Disability Employment Costs Australia AU$16 Billion



For the past 20 years, Australia’s employment rates for individuals with disabilities have not changed, despite considerable legislative changes and more money allocated to support programmes. Curtin University’s analysis, which calculated a potential annual GDP boost of AU$16 billion (US$10.6 billion) if disability employment rates climbed by just 10%, states that this lack of development constitutes a squandered economic opportunity.

The urgent need to promote a more inclusive workforce was emphasised in the study Employment and Disability in Australia: Improving Employment Outcomes for People with Disability. Adopting a “work-first” strategy, supporting public sector employment efforts, encouraging employer leadership in disability inclusion, and improving education-to-work transitions are some of its main proposals.

In order to improve cooperation between welfare and disability assistance organisations, as well as state and federal governments, the research also supports the creation of a National Disability Employment Agency. This group would assess and identify best practices while giving vital information and assistance to organisations working to increase the number of meaningful employment opportunities available to people with disabilities.

Related link: Australia To Assist People With Disabilities In Furthering Their Jobs

The analysis, which examined data from 1998 to 2022, highlighted the growing disparity in employment, with only 53.1% of those with disabilities that prevented them from working in 2022 finding a job, compared to 81.8% of those without such limitations. The report’s co-author, Professor Alan Duncan, who is also the director of the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, underlined the importance of resolving this imbalance and the significant positive effects that meaningful employment can have on people’s health, happiness, and quality of life.

According to the report, there are systemic deficiencies in support systems that lead to greater rates of job instability and departure from the labour force among individuals with disabilities. Another report co-author, Professor Mike Dockery, underlined the need for government leadership in defining clear goals and reporting standards for disability employment outcomes, especially in the public sector. To support ongoing progress in disability inclusion initiatives, he urged public sector commissions to exchange best practices.

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