Media release: A ‘jobs’ budget must include accessible jobs for people with disability

Following the fallout of COVID-19, tonight’s “most important federal budget since WWII” has focused on stimulating the economy with job creation incentives. However, disability advocates argue these measures should have included a greater focus on accessible employment.

“It’s well recognised that people with disability face multiple barriers to finding and keeping paid work,” said Romola Hollywood, Director Policy and Advocacy, People with Disability Australia (PWDA). “Without targeted measures, in a tightening labour market, people with disability will continue to be excluded from mainstream employment. This budget has missed a critical opportunity to turn the tables, and that is a shame.”

PWDA has called for a National Jobs Plan to address the ongoing underrepresentation of people with disability in mainstream employment.

“We welcome the Government’s announcement of a wage subsidy scheme to help young people find a job, however, we would also like to see incentives for employers to employ more young people with disability.”

In PWDA’s survey on the experiences of people with disability during COVID-19, more than 91 per cent of respondents reported increased expenses for basics such as groceries, medical supplies and transport. Yet, some 680,300 Australians who receive the Disability Support Pension missed out on both JobKeeper and the JobSeeker supplement, instead receiving two payments of just $750 earlier in the year.

“This latest top-up of two $250 payments does very little to cover the unexpected costs our community have incurred during the pandemic,” said Ms Hollywood.

In regard to National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Ms Hollywood said, “PWDA acknowledges the increased funding to the NDIS, which we understand reflects the natural growth of the scheme as it rolls out.

“We would, however, like to see a more detailed breakdown on how increases in funding to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission will be allocated.

“We have learnt from the tragic death of Ann-Marie Smith that strengthening safeguards for people with disability to prevent violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation is an urgent priority, and we hope that the additional funding for the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission will be used to develop a proactive approach to investigations and spot checks on NDIS providers.”

For more information, contact:
Romola Hollywood
Director Policy and Advocacy
People with Disability Australia
M: 0431 998 273
media@pwd.org.au