After listening to Jon Faine on ABC 774 recently (12th May), about the need for improved disability employment services to get people back into work, I have to say something.
I would reiterate (based on UK figures as a proxy for Australia), that a significant proportion of PWD (people with disability) have worked, as the average age of acquiring a disability in the UK is 47 years old, and 83% of PWD have acquired a disability as a result of injury or naturally.
The implication is that many PWD have worked, and therefore the focus should be on keeping them in work at their current employers, rather than letting them become unemployed. Research shows long-term unemployment leads to an on-going deterioration in confidence and reduced chances of getting work – through any employment services, whether disabled or not. And with a disability, it’s that much harder.
Federal Social Services Minister Andrews himself admits that many people on the disability support pension have the capacity to work but there is little incentive (!).
Further, he says, “There are a lot of people who are disabled who have capacity, who have ability, and with the right sort of approach we could actually encourage them to be in the workforce”.
This highlights the imperative for government to incentivize employers to keep PWD rather than just pay money to disability employment services to try and find them jobs. You need both approaches.