House debates

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Questions without Notice

People with Disability: Employment

2:04 pm

Photo of Angie BellAngie Bell (Moncrieff, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Minister for Government Services. Will the minister update the House on what the Morrison government is doing to remove employment obstacles for those with a disability?

2:05 pm

Photo of Stuart RobertStuart Robert (Fadden, Liberal Party, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Moncrieff for her question and acknowledge her hard work in supporting over 1,800 NDIS participants in her electorate. Today is the International Day of People with Disability. I know that everyone in the House would celebrate the opportunity for us to reflect on what that collectively means for us and to reflect on the contribution made to our great society and the economy by the skills and talents of some 4.4 million Australians identifying with disability. It's also an opportunity to mark the important contributions that Australians with disability make in the workforce and to focus our attention on how we collectively can continue to change employer attitudes so that everyone who wants to work in Australia has the opportunity to do so.

We all know that getting a job and keeping a job is an absolute game changer in people's lives, and this shouldn't be different for anyone with a disability. This couldn't be truer for Daniel, a valued member of the Parliament House concierge team, who I met yesterday. He lives with Asperger's syndrome and severe anxiety. The job here in Parliament House amongst us, with us and alongside us every day gives him financial security, enables him to plan for his future and gives him choice and control over his life. This morning I met with two other very impressive young men—Nicholas and Gordon—from the Aurora Neurodiversity Program at Services Australia. This program aims to recognise the skills and abilities of great Australians with autism and employ job-ready candidates in the Public Service.

As a nation I know that we all want to rise to the challenge of improving outcomes for people with disability, especially as we come back from the COVID-19 pandemic. That should start with government and the Public Service. That's why today the Morrison government has released a new APS employment strategy to make employing Australians with disability a mainstream part of the everyday culture of the Public Service. This strategy demonstrates an ongoing commitment to providing meaningful employment opportunities for people with disability and sets the goal that, by 2025, seven per cent of the APS will be Australians with a disability.

If we can approach recruitment differently, focus on ability and provide adequate supports, together we can make a substantial difference. I'm pleased that the National Disability Insurance Agency currently has 11 per cent of its staff being Australians with a disability. This is leading the APS. It's a tremendous initiative. It's something that we should all lean heavily into. As a nation we can collectively take pride in our Public Service leading the way.