Media & Speeches

International Day of People with Disability a Time to Reflect on the Potential of Every Australian

“International Day of People with Disability is a time to reflect on the fact that realising our nation’s potential means realising the potential of every Australian,” said Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott.

“With the budgets of all governments increasingly stretched by the growing costs of an ageing population, we need to encourage and enable people who want to and can work to participate,” Ms Westacott said.

“This requires us to make our workplaces more flexible, inclusive and accessible; and to address attitudinal barriers.”

A report based on a survey of BCA member companies, to be released early next year, explores what works in employing people with disability as well as identifying things we need to do differently.

The results will provide a baseline of data on what BCA companies are doing, as well as identify:
•    effective approaches to recruitment and retention
•    services and supports that employers can access
•    company-wide benefits of employing people with disability.

“OECD rankings show Australia is not doing as well as it could and should in supporting people with disability into work,” Ms Westacott said.

“A big part of this is attitudes to employing people with a disability, but our employment services systems are not as effective as they need to be,” Ms Westacott said.

“We want to use the results of our survey to highlight and champion good practice so more companies will see how they can build a focus on disability into their business.

“Our report will show that leading companies are aware of the barriers that can exist to people with disability getting a job. They are taking steps to remove these barriers by addressing inclusion and accessibility across their businesses.”

“Companies with an active focus on recruiting and retaining people with disability, including Telstra, Westpac, Woolworths, Compass Group, ANZ and Australia Post, believe that it gives them access to a broader talent pool and more innovative ideas.

“Leading companies provide valuable lessons for other business and government to take on board.

“Drawing on the experiences of our member companies, the Business Council will use the survey results to highlight ways business and of policymakers can facilitate better employment outcomes for people with disability,” she said.

For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2603 | Mobile 0403 241 128