Call to improve employment rates and stamp out abuse on International Day of Persons with Disabilities

NSW Greens MP and Disability Spokesperson Jan Barham has called for more action to improve employment rates and housing for people with disability and end violence, abuse and neglect committed against people with a disability on today’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

“If we are to have true inclusion of people with disability, we must work towards improving the employment rate of people with disability. Only one in two people with a disability in NSW are in the labour force compared with four in five people without a disability”, said Ms Barham.

Recent figures show that the number of employees with a disability in NSW government departments has fallen to just 2.9% from 4.8% in 2009.

“These figures are shocking, and show that the NSW public service – the largest employer in Australia – is going backwards in employment of people with disability. The NSW public service should be leading the way to improve employment rates of people with a disability.”

“These figures are also disappointing in light of the NSW Government’s Disability Inclusion Plan’s goal to support access to meaningful employment for people with a disability.”

Affordable and accessible housing is also key to achieving equality of opportunity for people with a disability.

“People with a disability should be able to live in the community in affordable housing which meets universal design principles. The National Disability Insurance Agency estimates that there will be a national shortfall of 122,000 suitable homes for people with a disability once the National Disability Insurance Scheme is fully operational. The NSW Government must ensure that there is sufficient accessible social housing, and other forms of affordable housing to meet demand.”

Ms Barham also backed the Australian Senate Committee Inquiry recommendation for a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings.

“Violence, abuse and neglect of people with a disability is totally unacceptable. The Senate Committee Inquiry showed unequivocally that we, as a nation, have failed to keep people with a disability safe from harm.”

“A Royal Commission would allow collection of better data on the extent of abuse and neglect of people with a disability as well as investigation into cases within institutions.”

“We need to create true equality of opportunity for people with a disability by removing barriers in society to full participation. The NSW Government should renew its focus on achieving the goals outlined in its Disability Inclusion Plan, with particular attention to improving workforce participation and affordable housing for people with a disability.”

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

ABS statistics on Disability and Labour Force Participation (2012)

State of the NSW Public Sector 2015

NSW Disability Inclusion Plan

The Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee report on Violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings