A little less conversation, a little more action needed on disability employment – Pro Bono Australia (Danielle Kutchel | August 2022)

Guide dog leading a blind girl

The unemployment rate for Australians living with disabilities is stubbornly high – twice as high as people without disabilities.

We don’t disagree with the sentiment but we do feel disability entrepreneurship should be part of the discussion about disability employment.  A focus on ‘regular work’ will always exclude, as well as undersell, significant parts of the disability community.  We believe that disability entrepreneurship must be part of the approach to disability employment.  The tough reality is that the current discussion doesn’t include this important consideration.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, working age people with a disability are twice as likely to be unemployed as those without a disability, with the unemployment rate for this cohort hovering around 10 per cent.

And just 53.4 per cent of people with disability are in the labour force, compared with 84.1 per cent of people without disability.

This gap has remained largely unchanged since 2003.

Flurry of activity as politicians prepare

As the business world gears up for next month’s federal Jobs and Skills Summit, a number of other employment-related events are quietly taking place.

Government ministers are using these opportunities to talk to key stakeholders about employment issues facing minorities.

One of those minority groupings is people with disability, with ministers holding events to discuss how to increase the employment rate for people with disability.

We don't disagree with the sentiment but we do feel disability entrepreneurship should be part of the discussion about disability employment.  A focus on 'regular work' will always exclude, as well as undersell, significant parts of the disability community.  We believe that disability entrepreneurship must be part of the approach to disability employment.  The tough reality is that the current discussion doesn't include this important consideration.

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