The Australian Human Rights Commission has launched an online portal that aims to increase employment opportunities for Australians living with disability.
Put in motion on Wednesday, 1 September 2021, the website contains a litany of versatile employment resources for open access, as a part of the National IncludeAbility program.
Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Ben Gauntlett hopes the site will promote access and inclusion in the workplace.
“The employment participation rate for people with disability is 30 per cent lower than people without disability,” he said.
“It is vital that disability… play a key part in any diversity discussion.”
A report on the employment and economic outcomes of Australians with disability has driven the Commission’s focus on fostering meaningful employment opportunities.
The report found nearly half of all employed people with disabilities had experienced unfair treatment or discrimination in the past 12 months.
To address this workplace culture, the resource hub attempts to amplify the employment participation rate by focusing on ways to employ, retain and promote people with disability.
Supporting this pursuit is the programs Employer Network, made up of 16 leading private and public sector employers committed to addressing workplace inequalities.
IncludeAbility Network member from law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, Danielle Kelly comments on the practicality of the program.
“The portal has created a much-needed resource for employers who are not only committed to diversity and inclusion but genuinely want to take practical steps to be disability-inclusive,” she said.
“By providing simple, easy to use resources, the website strips away much of the complexity in this area
It also pinpoints inclusive workspaces and provides tips on how to identify as a person with a disability in professional settings.
To accompany these digital tools, the program has adopted an Ambassador Advisory Group, driven by Australians with a lived experience of navigating the workplace with disability.
IncludeAbility Ambassador, Nathan Basha is an office assistant at radio stations Nova 96 and Smooth FM.
Whilst Mr Basha lives with Down Syndrome, inclusion in the workforce has provided a sense of purpose and independence, both financially and personally.
“[IncludeAbility is] an opportunity to unlock the potential of people with disabilities, transforming their lives and our own economy,” he said.
“I would like to also believe that my employment has helped in changing mindsets.
“I think people seeing me do ordinary things has helped me break down long-held barriers.”
Tia Haralabakos is a Media Communications student at Monash University specialising in Journalism and human rights. She is interested in the multi-faceted landscape of digital media, particularly addressing challenges to online reporting like diversity and content moderation. Tia’s journalistic interests include human rights and social affairs.