Release type: Media Release

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Disability Employment Strategy consults in Sydney

The Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O'Connor, today met with disability groups to discuss ways to increase employment of people with disability and/or mental illness in

Mr O’Connor held consultations in Sydney> today for the Rudd Government's National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy.

The strategy is looking at addressing the barriers people with disability and/or mental illness face in finding and retaining a job.

“Despite 17 years of strong economic growth, Australia is ranked a disappointing 13 out of 19 OECD countries in employment rates for all people with a disability,” Mr O’Connor said.

“We want people to share their first hand knowledge with the Government so that the strategy can not only identify barriers but also address them in a practical and effective way.”

Mr O'Connor and Parliamentary Secretary for Disability and Children's Services, Bill Shorten earlier this month released a discussion paper on the issue, and are now calling for submissions.

“The strategy aims to encourage more employers to employ people with a disability or mental illness by addressing myths about increased risks and costs, and increasing awareness of the benefits,” he said.

“Research shows that there are significant benefits in employing people with disability including fewer accidents at work and reduced employee costs.

“While there are many great examples of New South Wales businesses successfully employing people with a disability or mental illness, the Government would like to see this number increase.”

Submissions close on June 30. Copies of the discussion paper and more information on the strategy is available at www.deewr.gov.au/employmentstrategy