Job-match trial for people with disability

·2-min read

Closing the disability employment gap will be among the priorities of the new jobs and skills body being set up by the federal government.

The unemployment rate of Australians living with a disability is more than double that of able-bodied people, and the workforce participation rate hasn't risen in almost 30 years.

The government is committed to supporting full workforce participation of all Australians with a disability, Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said.

"Every person in Australia is entitled to the dignity of work and the economic, social and psychological benefits that work brings," she told parliament on Tuesday.

"At the jobs and skills summit there was a shared commitment to boosting participation and breaking down structural, institutional and attitudinal bias and barriers that many Australians living with a disability face every day."

In collaboration with Tourism Minister Don Farrell, Ms Rishworth announced funding to establish an employment program connecting people with a disability to work in the tourism sector.

During a 12-month trial in regional Australia, local navigators will help connect tourism businesses experiencing worker shortages and people with a disability looking for a job.

The lower house is continuing debate on the Jobs and Skills Australia body being proposed by the government to provide independent advice on current, emerging and future workforces and the relevant training needs.

The body will focus on the whole labour market and be driven by data and workforce forecasting, Assistant Health Minister Ged Kearney said.

"It is the beginning of us establishing how we can make sure any Australian who needs a job, can get a job," she told parliament.

The opposition supports the proposal but deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley said they would keep a close eye on how the organisation is implemented.

"We've heard a lot of talk about skills from Labor over the past week, but just as any trader will tell you: talk is cheap, it's getting the job done that matters," she said.

"We will be keeping a watching brief on Jobs and Skills Australia because we know just how vital skills are for the strength of our economy and we desperately want the Labor government to get this right for once."