International Day of People with Disability marks 20 years

Tue 4 December 2012

As Australia moves towards implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, events were held around the country on 3 December to mark twenty years of International Day of People with Disability and to advocate for better inclusion of people with disability across all sectors of society.

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten announced public consultation on proposals to boost employment participation for people with disability.

“We need a game changer to address the unconscious bias against people with disability in the Australian workforce,” Mr Shorten told a Melbourne function marking International Day of People with Disability.

“Last month’s labour force data shows that even in the face of ongoing global economic uncertainty there are more Australians in work than ever before.

“Employees with disability have, on average, better attendance rates, higher job retention and fewer occupational health and safety incidents than other employees.

“However, the labour force participation rate of people without disability is 82 per cent and only 54 per cent for people with disability.”

Read more about Minister Shorten’s discussion paper, Improving Employment Participation of People with Disability

The state government also moved closer yesterday to improving the lives of the 1.3 million people in NSW with a disability, by launching their National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan.

The NSW Minister for Disability Services, Andrew Constance, said it was the first whole-of-government disability plan in the state. Every state government department will be required to shift the physical and attitudinal obstacles that affect people with disability.

''Social exclusion is not caused by a person's disability but by barriers created by society,'' Mr Constance said.

The state government launched the plan at a publicity event that featured Paralympian Paul Nunnari scaling the opera house exterior in a wheelchair. Mr Nunnari’s stunt was designed to confront perceptions about disability.

''Sometimes people think the chair is a barrier but I just take the chair up with me,'' he said.

''It's really about adapting your abilities. No one really thinks about someone in a chair doing that and that's what I like about it. It challenges the misconceptions about disability.''

When not performing aerial acrobatics, Mr Nunnari is a mild-mannered public servant by day, working for the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet on a project that will improve accessibility to big events.

Read the full article about Mr Nunnari and the state government’s National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan on the Sydney Morning Herald.

 

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