The National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 represents a shared national approach to improving outcomes for Australians with disability, their families and carers. The first implementation plan, Laying the Groundwork 2011-2014, established the foundations to bring about reform in the planning and delivery of both mainstream and disability specific programs and services.
Important to the eye health and vision care sector, priorities for the Strategy’s second implementation plan include:
NDIS transition to full scheme
Improving employment outcomes for people with disability
Improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability
Communication activities to promote the intent of the strategy throughout the community
In particular, Vision 2020 Australia commends the Australian Government on prioritising employment.
“Access to meaningful employment is a fundamental human right of all Australians, yet people who are blind or vision impaired often face multiple barriers,” said Vision 2020 Australia CEO Carla Northam.
According to Australian Council of Social Service, the unemployment rate of Australians with disability is almost double people without a disability, currently 9.4 per cent, compared to 4.9 per cent respectively.
Furthermore, it is estimated that 58 per cent of working aged Australian’s who are blind or vision impaired are unemployed and one third of those who are employed would like to work more hours.¹
The second implementation plan contains vital strategies to address this however, more targeted work is needed.
These strategies include improving disability employment services and improving recruitment in the Australian Public Service (APS) through the As One Making it Happen Strategy
Vision 2020 Australia and its members call on the Australian Government to demonstrate commitment to diversity and increase the representation of people with a disability in the APS workforce.
While the APS is a major employer across Australia, there has been a consistent decline in the inclusion of people who identify as having a disability in the APS workforce, from 6.6 per cent in 1986² , down to 4.1 per cent in 2005 to just 3.5 per cent in 2015³ .
“As an important first step, direct leadership by the Australian Government will work to diminish the negative assumptions and pervasive stereotypes surrounding people with disability that continue to contribute to discriminatory employment practices,” said Ms Northam.
“The current lack of visibility of people who identify as having a disability in public roles such as the APS makes it difficult for private sector employers to recognise the potential of people with disability.
“We are calling on the Australian Government to implement an overall target of seven per cent for people with disability, including people who are blind or vision impaired, employed in the APS within the next five years (2016-2021).
“Ongoing and rewarding employment is integral to an individual’s ability to remain independent, empowered and connected with their community; maximising opportunities for participation in all aspects of daily life,” concluded Ms Northam.
For more information
Contact Adam Sawell, Communications Manager at Vision 2020 Australia.
Vision 2020 Australia
Established in October 2000, Vision 2020 Australia is part of VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, a global initiative of the World Health Organisation and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. Vision 2020 Australia is the national peak body for the eye health and vision care sector, representing over 50 member organisations involved in: local and global eye care; health promotion; low vision support; vision rehabilitation; eye research; professional assistance and community support.