Release type: Media Release


Minister Welcomes OECD Focus on Social Inclusion for People with Disabilities

The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, Minister for Employment Participation today welcomed the release of the OECD’s report, Sickness,Disability and Work: Breaking the Barriers. Australia, Luxembourg, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Minister O’Connor today welcomed the release of the OECD’s report and noted that Australia had participated fully in the review.

The Minister said, “Employment participation is a key factor in maintaining the strength of our economy and an important part of our economic focus.

“The Rudd Government’s plan is to lift the productive capacity of the economy to maintain strong growth without inflationary pressures. To achieve this we need to help people to find meaningful and productive employment.

“This means we are committed to ensuring as many people as possible participate in employment, where they have the capacity, including people with disability.

“The report identified some key challenges for Australia, including raising employment rates for people with health problems, the lower incomes of households with people with disabilities and increasing the opportunities for people in receipt of the Disability Support Pension to move into meaningful work.

The Rudd Government recognises that helping people with disabilities and/or mental illness gain and retain work requires a coordinated national effort to tackle the many reasons why people with disability find participation difficult.

We will develop a national strategy for mental health and disability employment in close consultation with people with a disability, employers and experts.

“People with disability have an enormous amount to contribute and it is very important that we tap into this tremendous resource in a supportive, positive and fair manner,” the Minister said.

“The Rudd Government believes we can improve on the systems currently in place and we intend to ensure that people with disability receive greater opportunities for education and training to ensure their job prospects are maximised.”