Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Public Servant Jobs For Disabled On The Decline

26 May 2011Reports today in ‘The Australian’ claim that the number of people with disabilities working in the government sector has been halved since 1986. Figures show that there has been a decline from 6.9 per cent down to 3.1 per cent last year.

Disability Commissioner, Graeme Innes, wants to see the number of jobs for people with disabilities in the public service area rise significantly.

This comes not long after Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, recently announced that she wants more disabled people off government handouts, and into the workforce.

Mr Innes is discussing whether introducing a ‘quota’ or ‘target’ system would be a good idea, to keep track of how many people with disabilities are being hired. He was originally opposed to such an idea, but feels now, that it will now be the only option, to ensure people with disabilities are being treated fairly, and not getting singled out or discriminated against, when it comes to employment.

Mr Innes would like to see the federal and state governments following in the ACT government’s footsteps, with their promise to double the number of disabled public servants over the next four years.

It makes it very difficult for the government to promote to private companies that they should be hiring staff with disabilities, when they are failing to do so themselves.

A key part of the government’s budget is getting people with disabilities into the workforce, so this means that they should be setting a good example. At this rate, the only example they are setting, is NOT to hire people with a disability.

There is still too much prejudice against people with disabilities when it comes to employers looking to hire staff. It’s an unspoken prejudice, but still there nevertheless.

I have learnt, since working for NOVA Employment that most workers who have a disability, are more eager to learn, more reliable, and are more likely to stay in their job longer. One would’ve thought by the year 2011, that there would be a lot more open minded business people around, when it comes to hiring staff with disabilities. But unfortunately, it just isn’t the way yet. We have to keep proving the naysayers wrong and show them that we can do just as good a job, if not better, than anyone else that they choose over us.

Do you have any bad experiences when it comes to looking for work as a disabled person? I know once, when I got to the interview stage of an administration job, I asked if the workplace had any stairs, when I advised the manager that I was in a wheelchair, he quickly said ‘oh no, I don’t think it would be the right place for you to work at’. Only about 19 years old at the time, I just replied in a tiny, scared voice ‘ok’ and hung up the phone in shock. I wish that happened now, because I would’ve taken him to the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. No one tells me that I can’t do anything now!

To view the original article from ‘The Australian’, click here - http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/job-quotas-urged-for-disabled-in-public-service/story-e6frg6nf-1226062988124

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