Improving opportunities for Victorians with disability

More Victorians with disability participating in the labour market yields significant benefits.

The vision for Victoria is an inclusive, accessible and safe place that upholds the rights of Victorians with disability, celebrates their diversity and pride, and expands their opportunities to belong and to control their lives.

Getting more Victorians to participate in the labour market

Around 17% of Victorians live with a disability (Australian Bureau of Statistics, Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings(opens in a new window), 2018). While Victorians with disability should have the same opportunities as all Victorians, this is not always the case.

Victorians with disability are more likely to be unemployed and less likely to be part of the labour force. Health issues, difficulties accessing reasonable adjustments at work and discrimination from employers are some of the reasons that account for the difference.

Getting more Victorians with disability to participate in the labour market will yield significant benefits. Currently, unemployment rates are higher for working age Victorians with disability (12.2% compared to 4.5% for other Victorians) (Australian Bureau of Statistics, Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings(opens in a new window), 2018)and the proportion of Victorians with disability employed or actively looking for employment needs to be higher. The cost of these exclusions is estimated to be $14 billion annually at the national level (Royal Commission Into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (2022) The economic cost of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability(opens in a new window), research report).

The Victorian Government is committed to increasing the proportion of learners with disability participating in vocational education and training (VET). This includes improving their completion rate, experience during training and outcomes after training.

Disabilities alone do not disadvantage learners from participating in skilling and employment. Lack of streamlined pathways for learners, failure to provide reasonable adjustments and insufficient tailored supports lead to Victorians with disability feeling disengaged, undervalued and limit their access to skilling and employment (Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (2020), Inquiry into access to TAFE for learners with disabilit(opens in a new window)y, 16 October).

Importantly, tertiary education helps to improve employment outcomes for Victorians with disability.

Under both Victorian and Australian legislation (Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)(opens in a new window) and associated standards (Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Cth)(opens in a new window) and Standards for Registered Training Organisation 2015 (Cth)(opens in a new window)) education providers must make reasonable adjustments to enable learners with disability to participate in education and training on the same basis as learners without disability.

It is important that VET providers are aware of these obligations and have a good understanding about how to make adjustments to support learners with disabilities (Parliament of Victoria (2021), Inquiry into access to TAFE for learners with disability(opens in a new window), September).

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