VCOSS MEDIA RELEASE
The Victorian Council of Social Service has welcomed a new plan by the Victorian Government to improve work, study and business opportunities for Victorians with a disability.
Acting CEO Mary Sayers said VCOSS has been calling for public sector targets for employment of people with disability for a number of years – and most recently in its State Budget Submission of December 2017.
“Nearly 50 per cent of people with disability live in poverty or near poverty.
“The difficulties experienced by people with disability in obtaining and retaining employment is a major contributor to this,” said Ms Sayers.
“People with disability face much lower levels of employment than other Victorians. “In 2015, just over half of people with disability were participating in the labour force, compared with more than 80 per cent of people with no disability,” said Ms Sayers.
“This discrepancy is simply unacceptable and inexcusable.”
Ms Sayers said the introduction of a six per cent public sector employment target is a positive first step.
“Negative employer attitudes remain the biggest barrier to employment for people with disability. “The new six per cent employment target across all Victorian Government departments by 2020 will hopefully help to address this.
“The chance to contribute, participate in the workforce and earn a decent income is something everyone deserves.”
“We want to see this target met and then raised, to ensure that the 20 per cent of Victorians with disability have the same opportunity to participate in the labour force as everyone else,” said Ms Sayers.
“Now it’s time for the private sector to the follow the government’s lead by setting their own targets and investing in employment opportunities for people with disability.”
Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley launched Every opportunity: Victorian economic participation plan for people with disability 2018-20 on 8 February 2018. The participation plan is backed by a $2.6 million investment by the Victorian Government.