The Albanese Labor Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Business Council of Australia (BCA) to create and implement a new disability employment pilot.
A direct outcome from the national Jobs and Skills Summit held in September, the inking of the agreement follows a $3.3 million investment from the Government in the pilot.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the collaboration will improve employment outcomes for people with disability, while also testing new ways to drive organisational cultural change and develop corporate capacity to open up development and advancement opportunities.
“There are 2.1 million Australians with disability of working age, but only 53.4 per cent are in the labour workforce. We also know 93 per cent of working-age people with disability face difficulties finding work due to the lack of suitable employment and perceived limitations of their disability,” Minister Rishworth said.
“This new employment pilot seeks to address this and provide significant benefits to people with disability, employers and businesses, the economy and the broader community.”
The Government and the BCA will work closely with people living with disability throughout the pilot.
Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott said businesses are at the table with government and workers to find solutions that expand opportunities, make it easier for people with disability get into the workforce, advance in their careers and reach their full potential.
“This is a community-wide challenge, so working together across government and business is crucial to shifting the dial and delivering better opportunities to all Australians,” Ms Westacott said.
“Business Council members are already innovating to create more inclusive workforces because that’s how they can attract the best people in a tight jobs market, this pilot will help them do more to tear down the structural barriers that hold people and businesses back.”
The Government and BCA recently convened a workshop attended by some of Australia’s largest employer groups together with leading disability employment experts to discuss challenges and identify opportunities to inform the approach of the pilot.
“We have been working closely with the BCA to co-design a demand-driven model for job seekers with disability and employers to build an inclusive, safe and supportive workplace culture for people with disability to thrive in their careers,” Minister Rishworth said.
She added this will be achieved through a range of targeted measures, enabling them to achieve their career aspirations while businesses meet their specific strategic, operational and staffing needs.
“Together, we will create and implement an employment pilot aimed at creating an inclusive and supportive workplace culture for people with disability – a key outcome of Australia’s Disability Strategy,” Minister Rishworth said.