Tackling bias towards people with disability


December 3 2012, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten launched a public consultation on proposals to boost employment participation for people with disability.

Tackling bias towards people with disability

The fight for equal opportunity for people with disabilities in finding suitable work could easily commence in South Australia through the WorkCover system. Where many of those on WorkCover are or have been offered redundancy packages instead of attempting to find them suitable employment. In South Australia it appears that dumping our disabled workers has become an “easy out” for many employers. (Including government departments). This move by Minister Bill Shorten is a well needed and timed event. However, I would like to suggest to Minister Shorten to review past and present WorkCover claim files to see what genuine attempts have been made by employers and rehabilitation consultants to find their disabled employees suitable employment. Surely many of these WorkCover disabled have been unfairly and unnecessarily dumped on our disability pension or unemployment allowance. According to this document the responsibility falls to employers to actively resolve their bias issues and help disabled employees find suitable employment. An obvious, “first step”, is address their ” legal responsibility” and provide the WorkCover disabled with suitable employment before placing them on a pension or an allowance. Even if it means a new employer. Find those dumped off Workcover who are struggling on unemployment allowances first. (address that legal responsibility). It is also a double standard that an employee can have their employment terminated after a length of time after claiming Workcover. It is legal discrimination to terminate the “disabled employee” after the designated time? Clearly a double standard? Employers do not want to hire “risks”. That is a stigma that must change. That people are hired for their “ability” to do tasks not their “disabilities”. It’s sad to think our return to work system in Australia, especially South Australia, is failing due to employers discriminating towards people with disabilities. Having legal acts that support that discrimination is a hinder rather than a help. A review on changing the biases in the Workcover act to commence a positive change forward is important. Free up the system first. It’s hard to change attitudes and biases when legislation and acts provide the avenues to hide and breed bias attitudes. I agree Bill Shorten, its time to change the way Australian employers are allowed treat our disabled.

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

Policy reform that examines ways to increase employment participation and eliminate workplace discrimination for people with disability is part of a major discussion paper Mr Shorten released today.

“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.”

“Australians with disability deserve the right to an ordinary life.”

A recent study by Deloitte Access Economics found that if the gap in the participation rate and unemployment rate for people with and without disability could be reduced by one-third and phased in over the next decade, the cumulative impact on GDP over the next decade would be $43 billion.

The discussion paper, Improving Employment Participation of People with Disability, seeks public views on how to best achieve reform, including:

  • Improving equality for people with disability in employment and in the workplace;
  • Promoting among employers the elimination of discrimination on the basis of a person’s disability; and
  • Improving the productivity and competitiveness of Australian business through the advancement of people with disability in the workplace.

Minister Shorten said: “The ASX have agreed to work with the Government to benchmark what best practice disability reporting and employment among Australia’s top companies looks like, so that an example can be set for others.”

“We must ensure that all Australians, regardless of disability, are able to find a job, earn a wage, enjoy the dignity of work and prosper from satisfying and rewarding careers.”

“That’s why the Government is committed to creating lasting opportunities for employment for people with disability and we know employers are the key.

“I encourage people with disability, employers, unions and peak organisation to take the time to read the discussion paper and provide written submissions so we can work together to shape this important reform.”


16 Responses to “Tackling bias towards people with disability”

  1. Payments made to employers for return to work and employing injured workers are just another trough. So they dip into it as often as they can. Yes, it gives them loads of money. But this system is all about holding up and resourcing the employers whilst demonising the injured worker. While they’re getting access to all these troughs, we injured workers are denied treatment, pharmacy refunds, re-training, everything the system is supposed to provide us with.



    • Hi Pauline is your mobile number still the same? I sent you greetings :)))

      Xchangingvictim January 2, 2013 at 12:53 pm
      • Yeh thanks X-changingvictim. I’m out of credit and can’t afford more till next week. appreciate your good wishes. Hope you have a happy new year too. More importantly, I hope all injured workers have a great year working together to bring down the Workover and make a compassionate system for injured workers and all the other social/economic victims in society – you know, the unemployed, single parents etc.

        • I’m happy to see you’re good…..

          In our modern society what make people respected human being is fighting for your rights, never give up fighting back because the bastards will pay back sometimes, they may not hide the truth forever!

          Xchangingvictim January 2, 2013 at 9:44 pm
          • I am on the Nes program because I came up to my 52 weeks and work had no alternate work for me outside of pca work which i could not do. In leisure and lifestyle they had cut back the hours so they could not offer work in that field either, or reception etc. Now my work has a position in leisure and lifestyle of which I could apply for but I now have to go through the normal Hr process because work is under no obligation to retrain or offer me suitable duties even though I am still employed by them. The government has made such loop holes for employers to get around. I applied for 20 jobs yesterday, not one call back yet for an interview. Have received no training in any other field, not even started yet I have been on the program since november 1st last year. What can I do, where do I go the system screws you left, right and centre how can you not get anxious, upset, frantic with worry?

            Nicole Bradbury January 3, 2013 at 12:28 pm
  2. Happy New Year! Hope 2013 is full of good and positive new directions for everyone! 🙂


  3. We’re back up! Sorry for the technical issues experienced over the past few days, it was no hack this time, but a stupid technical issue a tad hard to solve with the site’s admin on holidays overseas. All fixed now.

    Happy new year to all my friends and lets make 2013 OUR year!

    workcovervictim January 1, 2013 at 6:51 am
    • May 2013 bring injured workers and anyone in difficulties Health, Joy, Happiness, Wealth and a better future.

      Happy New Year to all!

      Xchangingvictim January 1, 2013 at 8:38 am
  4. Prevention is the start point and if things aren’t going well, it shows that politicians are ignorant either they don’t spend time on solutions or they just don’t care at all

    What Worksafe do by showing up in alleged unsafe workplaces is just stupid and a waste of taxpayers’ money, employers and employees mock them and as soon as they leave things go back to normal, Worksafe’s representatives just wasted their time and MONEY.

    Enforce a compulsory educative program specific for employers, before anyone is allowed to start a business they must have a training certificate, people before becoming employers must learn that bullying is illegal, they fail to understand this then deny a business license! Employers must sign an agreement they take responsibility if they intentionally fail in their duties, you’ll see too many people will think twice before thinking that running a business is only about money!

    • I have always agreed with your comment. Not so long ago my husband dobbed in his employer to worksafe because they expected him to climb scaffolding without safety harnesses. The issue was fixed whilst work safe were sniffing their noses, but afterwards it went back to normal.

      Givivng 24hours notice of your arrival is ludicrous, why give the employer the heads up? In the end my husband left as he was almost crushed to death in a shipping container with a forklift. Not worth it!

      Nicole Bradbury January 1, 2013 at 8:39 am
      • You may not fight your rights (you entered in an agreement) in the adversarial workplace because as you know the authorised bodies supposed to enforce the rules are to ones that are biased against the weakest, yes the employees.

        In my “poisoned” workplace we had 3 inspections in just 6 months, what does that tell you??? You should encourage your husband because he made the best choice by leaving not like me stupid F@king loyal employee focused on the job and trying the best outcome while bullies including the employer were threatening my health and my future. I had to leave and avoided all troubles but I wasn’t ready for that because I liked the job, I enjoyed it, I enjoyed doing my work, what was wrong with me?

        The only good thing I learned from such ugly experience is that: loyal employee = F@uking Retard!

        Xchangingvictim January 1, 2013 at 9:13 am
        • It is so sad that workplaces are as you say poisoned! What do employers gain from this? If the boss is loyal, supportive,creates a great workplace atmosphere then they stand to gain everything. As employees will be more productive. Instead of giving the top bosses of the company huge bonuses spread it out give something back to the little guys as the bosses of the company could not have gotten to where they have if not for the hardwork of the little guys. This country has become a very greed ridden country and very cut throat in everyway. We work harder, longer and for no apparent benefit. This is why there are so many workplace injuries, uncaring bosses, putting the thumbs on the little guy. It is not a country of prosperity anymore, where if you work hard you get what you want. It is who you know and your lucky if you do not injure yourself.

          Nicole Bradbury January 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm
          • I know why and as I already have said countless times employers get Government money (tax payers’ money) for any person they employ. I’ve direct experience with employers getting even “rubbish” in just to get $8,000 funding then the “rubbish” a week later is thrown out and next please! One employer (not using upper case on purpose) I remember employed and sacked 8 people in just 5 months (we were totally 3 people working including 2 owners), he the retard told me he gets $8,000 for each one you sum it does $64,000 without doing any work! Those people were “always” introduced by job network services and I know employers have even more bonuses by doing that way.

            It was just a matter of time that came my turn (previous job) to be thrown out “get out of here” then Work Safe Ombudsman sorted it out the unfair dismissal but what I got back was only 1 week in lieu of notice and lost the job, the employer still made his deal!

            The latest job was just as the same, bigger factory and many more people in and out nearly every days (bigger business), the boss didn’t mind nor care about employees because his business was mainly focused on getting Government funding, one out and another in just the next day!

            Now tell me, I don’t work for the Government and I know this “dirty” stuff but Government don’t? Kidding me right??

            Xchangingvictim January 1, 2013 at 1:47 pm
            • I think the way around this is to not give employers any incentives until they have kept the employee on for a certain amount of time like at least 12 months. I think they really needs to be an independant person looking into this as to me it is frauding the government and yet we are the ones paying for it it is disgusting!

              Nicole Bradbury January 1, 2013 at 5:36 pm
    • I have always agreed with your comment. Not so long ago my husband dobbed in his employer to worksafe because they expected him to climb scaffolding without safety harnesses. The issue was fixed whilst work safe were sniffing their noses, but afterwards it went back to normal.

      Giving24hours notice of your arrival is ludicrous, why give the employer the heads up? In the end my husband left as he was almost crushed to death in a shipping container with a forklift. Not worth it!


      Nicole Bradbury January 1, 2013 at 8:40 am
  5. We really need to start some sort of petition to let the government know that their stupid programs ( Nes) do not work, you have to change unfair treatment and bias by prospective employers. I am a victorian on the Nes programme , have been to one interview and the employers reaction about the injury was insane, puts you off trying. Yet I know if I did not have the injury I probably would have the job. But I guess they can not employ someone who can only do half the job, yet how can I apply for work if I do not have new skills. Once skills are attained employers wont employ me cause I do not have experience inmy nw chosen proffession.

    Politicians need to starrt opening there eyes. We struggle financially, and emotionally everyday, and their little band aids will not fix anything that needs plaster!