NDIS Minister Stuart Robert last month released a long-awaited plan to boost employment for NDIS scheme participants into work by mid-2023 but advocates say the government is aiming too low. The goal of 30% of working age participants in employment is only 6% higher than the current rate of 24% NDIS participants employed.
“This strategy is all about giving more people with disability who have the desire and capacity to work better access to the right supports to achieve their employment goals while breaking down barriers that they face trying to get a job,” Robert said.
Advocacy groups are also worried that half of NDIS participants in employment are working for Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) or ‘sheltered workshops’, which often don’t pay standard wages, nor do they help prepare employees to move into the mainstream workforce.
“We want to see an end to the NDIS support for this kind of outdated and unfair work, and commit to supporting people with disability into open employment,” said Jeff Smith, CEO of People with Disability Australia (PWDA)
The strategy has five focus areas:
- Increase participant aspiration and employment goals in NDIS plans
- Increase participant choice and control over pathways to employment
- Increase marketing innovations that improve the path to paid work
- Improve confidence of employers to employ NDIS participants
- Government to lead by example as an employer (Federal Government’s election promises included 7% employment for people with disability across the Australian Public Service)
The National Disability Insurance Agency has also vowed to lead by example as an employer and 11.85% of its employees are people with a disability – whereas PWDA has called for a 51 per cent disability employment across all levels of the NDIA.
The plan, which can be viewed in full here, follows the Government’s July announcement of $19.6m to fund projects which will increase the NDIS workforce. Projects include capacity-building of 64 organisations to employ people with a disability through engagement, better resources and training.
To see Sydney Community Services’ supports and programs for people with a disability, visit https://www.sydneycs.org/disability-services/