Tourism jobs for Aussies with a disability

·2-min read

Australians living with a disability will be supported to enter the tourism sector as part of a new federal government employment pilot.

While the national unemployment rate is relatively low at 3.4 per cent, the rate for people with disabilities is more than double that and has not changed in 10 years.

The pilot aims to address barriers to employment in recruiting, retaining and progressing the careers of people with a disability in small and medium tourism businesses.

The government will provide more than $3 million to fund the pilot, Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said.

Funding will establish place-based local navigators who will help connect tourism businesses experiencing worker shortages and people with a disability looking for a job.

A 12-month trial of the navigator program will take place in regional locations across Australia.

"Employing someone living with disability should not be seen as a charitable act. It makes good business sense," Ms Rishworth said.

"When the visitor economy is crying out for workers, people living with disability should get opportunities to have meaningful careers in the sector."

Tourism Minister Don Farrell said the sector was still recovering from the effects of COVID-19 and experienced widespread labour shortages.

"There is capacity for people with disability to meet this demand with research suggesting that more than 113,000 people with disability are currently unemployed or underemployed and ready to work," he said.

"The tourism sector is crying out for workers and if we can create pathways to open up jobs and careers for people living with disability in this sector it is a good thing for everyone."

The pilot is an outcome of discussions at the jobs and skills summit where the disability unemployment gap was raised as an issue stifling Australia's economic growth.