Page 3339 - Week 09 - Thursday, 24 August 2017

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Health, Ageing and Community Services—Standing Committee—Report 2—Inquiry into the Employment of People with Disabilities, dated 24 August 2017, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.

I move:

That the report be noted.

I am proud to table the report of the inquiry into the employment of people with disabilities on behalf of the health, ageing and community services committee in the Assembly today. The committee received 19 submissions from a range of peak bodies, individuals with disabilities who have struggled to find and maintain employment and the ACT government.

The committee also held two public hearings and was privileged to hear from 10 groups who gave evidence relating to a range of matters, including the need for a clear definition of disability for employment matters, options in relation to employment pathways and ways to build inclusive workplaces. I would like to sincerely thank everybody who contributed to the inquiry.

The committee heard very clearly in the course of the inquiry that the foundation for improvement in employment rates of people with a disability is an inclusive workplace. The committee heard about programs that are working well and strategies that could be implemented to ensure that people with disabilities do not experience discrimination in employment matters. The committee also heard about the need for a clear definition of disability in this regard.

Acknowledging this, the report makes 32 recommendations, including that all staff in leadership and HR positions attend compulsory disability awareness training to enhance inclusion, as well as ensuring that diversity is a performance requirement of senior managers in the ACT public service. This works in partnership with other recommendations concerning the establishment of new disability employment targets to guide the ACT government’s performance.

There is a role for all employers to improve inclusion in the workplace but the committee has focused its recommendations on the ACT public service. The committee has recommended that the ACT government should include a stand-alone disability employment strategy, disability action plans in each directorate, as well as disability employment champions and the establishment of a disability employee network.

The committee would also like the ACT government to continue its existing disability employment initiatives and look at new pathways, such as paid internships and the recruitment of people with a disability into dedicated positions in the ACT public service, including senior leadership roles. The committee has also recommended establishing a disability employment register to match people with a disability with board and committee positions.

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