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National Inquiry into Employment and Disability: Issues Paper 2

National Inquiry into Employment and Disability

Issues Paper 2: Issues Facing
People with Disabilities

What factors impact on people
with disabilities seeking to enter and remain in employment?

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Last updated 4: March 2005.

One of the goals of this Inquiry is to identify the problems faced by people with disabilities when they seek employment.

The Inquiry will also focus on identifying and developing practical strategies that can help address the disincentives that many people with disabilities experience when they do seek employment.

Another important goal is to map out where people with disabilities who do want to find employment can find support and guidance.

As a first step towards achieving these goals, this Issues Paper sets out some of the commonly identified barriers faced by people with disabilities when seeking employment. It also attempts to identify existing initiatives that aim to increase the participation of people with disabilities.

This Issues Paper draws on feedback already received from the disability sector in the preparatory stages of this Inquiry. The Inquiry is interested in further feedback about employment issues. Please use the questions set out below as a guide to your submissions.


What are some of the barriers faced by people with a disability who might seek

  • Inadequate information and advice about how to enter the open
    workplace and obtain ongoing support. For example: there is no ‘one-stop
    shop’ for people with disabilities looking for information, advice
    and ongoing support
    • there seems to be a lack of coordination between different government
      services so that people with disabilities are unclear about which Commonwealth
      or State agencies can provide them with assistance
    • information about the financial and health impacts of entering the open
      workplace is hard to find
    • there is limited or delayed access to open employment services.
  • Financial costs of participation. For example:
    • additional transport, support and other costs associated with work,
      many of which are not subsidised
    • foregoing the Disability Support Pension and associated benefits, such
      as the Pensioners Health Care Card
  • Inflexible working environment. For example:
    • difficulties with physical access to the workplace, and getting to and
      from work
    • inadequate adjustments and adaptations to workplace equipment
    • inflexible working hours
  • More limited opportunities for people with disabilities. For example:
    • poor links between State-administered school and post-school programs
      and Commonwealth-administered disability employment services
    • under-representation in the vocational, education and training systems
    • limited scope and variety of jobs offered to people with disabilities
    • lower possibilities for promotion
    • lower paying jobs
    • lower retention rates

Stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities

Your feedback: disincentives for people with disabilities

(a) What are the most
pressing concerns of people with disabilities who might want to seek

(b) Are there any factors in addition to the ones listed above that
might make people with disabilities reluctant to seek or stay in employment?

(c) What are some individual examples of how these factors have affected
the decision to seek or stay in employment?

(d) What are the particular problems
that face people with specific physical, intellectual and psychiatric disabilities
when seeking or staying in employment?


What assistance is currently available to support people with disabilities to
enter and remain in employment?

Some of the Commonwealth government initiatives that assist people with disabilities to enter open employment are set out in Issues Paper 4. The Inquiry is interested to hear about additional projects being undertaken by the Commonwealth government, State government, private sector and community sector.

 Your feedback: assistance for people with disabilities

(a) What are some
of the existing initiatives designed to assist people with disabilities
to enter and remain in the open workplace? For example: \

  • Commonwealth government initiatives (see also Issues
    Paper 4
  • State government initiatives
  • private sector initiatives
  • community sector initiatives.

(b) What cross-sector initiatives exist to assist people with disabilities
to enter and remain in the open workplace? For example:Commonwealth-State
government initiatives

  • Commonwealth and/or State government-private sector initiatives
  • Commonwealth and/or State government-community sector initiatives
  • private sector-community sector initiatives.

3. Send us your solutions!

In addition to providing a 'map' of existing initiatives, it is important to identify the gaps and to develop practical solutions to the issues facing people with disabilities who are seeking employment. The Inquiry would like to hear your ideas on what strategies or initiatives would make a positive difference.

(a) What additional steps could governments take to support people with
disabilities to enter and remain in open employment?

(b) What additional measures
should be taken to make it easier for people with disabilities to enter
and remain in open employment?

(c) What specific steps could be taken to support
people with psychiatric disabilities and mental illness to enter open employment?


How do you make a submission?

Further information about the Inquiry can be found at:

Submissions are due by 15 April 2005.

You can email your submission to:

Submissions may also be sent in hard copy, audiotape or videotape,

Employment Inquiry
Disability Rights Unit
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 2001

Questions can be directed to:

Kate Temby
Policy Officer
Disability Rights Unit
Phone: 02 9284 9767