The Morrison government is convinced the public service can make employing people with disability a mainstream part of the APS culture, and is doubling the target employment figure for agencies by 2025.
A new employment strategy for the public service to be released today, marking International Day of People with Disability, sets the direction for all public service agencies as employers and focuses on the attraction, recruitment and retention of more people with disability at all levels within the APS.
It will also seek to focus agency leaders and manager on creating more accessible workplace cultures and environments.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said employment opportunities were the key to unlocking improved economic security, independence and well-being for all Australians with disability.
"The strategy sets a goal to increase the employment of people with disability across the APS to 7 per cent by 2025, up from 3.7 per cent in 2019," Senator Ruston said.
"It demonstrates our ongoing commitment to ensuring people with a disability have equal opportunities in the APS and recognises the significant contribution they make to the workforce.
"Meaningful employment is an absolute game-changer in anybody's life and that shouldn't be any different for somebody with a disability."
Setting the higher target of 7 per cent was flagged by the Coalition ahead of the 2019 election, which will help to tackle a disparity in the figures around disability employment.
According to the anonymous APS Employee Census 2019, some 8 per cent of respondents answered yes when asked if they have a disability, but on the workforce figures only 4 per cent of public servants have a disability according to the latest State of the Service report.
Accountability for the strategy will rest with APS senior leadership in each agency.
An external evaluation of the previous 2016-2019 strategy, by Wallis Market and Social Research, noted that over the three years there had been no change in the percentage of APS employees disclosing a disability.
People with disabilities were primarily located in the lower levels of the public service, and the percentage of staff with a declared disability declined consistently from APS 4 to EL level.
The ability to change roles or move between agencies was improved, but there was no evidence that career development programs had been developed to consider disability.
Wallis found there was stigma associated with disability which reduces the number of staff who might apply for positions using the RecruitAbility scheme.
It also found most would prefer not to disclose their disability because of stigma, reduced promotion opportunities or not wanting to appear as different.
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