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Definition and the social model

This Strategy supports all employees with disability: whether they have conditions, limitations or impairments that are visible, invisible, chronic or episodic; or whether they are life-long, or acquired throughout life, from injury or other conditions. It encompasses a broad range of lived experience and focuses on reducing the specific barriers or challenges that individuals with disability may experience in the workplace. Of course, this Strategy recognises that not all disabilities are visible.

‘It’s about what support people need to perform their best - not what their disability status is!’ – APS employee with disability

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ definition of disability is used across the APS, including in Australian Public Service Employment Data metrics. This definition states that ‘a person has a disability if they report they have a limitation, restriction or impairment, which has lasted, or is likely to last, for at least six months and restricts everyday activities’.[8]

Language used to discuss disability has shifted over time and is often reflective of an underlying perspective of disability. The Strategy is aligned to contemporary language supporting a social model of disability rather than a medical model.

The social model of disability considers the barriers that people with disability can face. It is based on the premise that an environment and culture can be altered or adapted to include and accommodate the full range of human diversity. The APS needs to ensure this for all our employees.

Outcome and action matrix

Increasing the recruitment of people with disability and building a more inclusive APS

Focus area 1: Attract, recruit and retain more people with disability

Outcome: We will increase the recruitment of people with disability into the APS. We will ensure that the APS is an employer of choice that is well-regarded in the broad disability community

Action

Lead/s

Projected delivery date

1

Develop a whole-of-government approach to large-scale recruitment of people with disability designed to meet the government’s recruitment target. Expand the range of employment pathways into the APS, including through the use of Affirmative measure – disability for entry level, middle management and senior roles.

Australian Public Service Commission and Department of Finance

2022

2

As part of the broader APS reform work, develop APS-wide branding and employee value proposition that enables the promotion of the APS as an employer of choice for people with disability. Actively seek out skilled and talented people with disability.

Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Australian Public Service Commission

2022

3

Agencies to work with the Australian Public Service Commission to conduct a review of recruitment practices (including application of Affirmative measures) to ensure alignment with contemporary and inclusive practices.

Australian Public Service Commission

2021

Focus area 2: Accessible and inclusive workplace cultures and environments

Outcome: We will develop workplace cultures and environments that remove barriers to performance and support career development for all employees, including people with disability.

Action

Lead/s

Projected delivery date

4

Inclusive culture – Agencies to provide disability awareness and capability uplift for managers and senior leaders.

All agencies supported by Australian Public Service Commission and Australian Human Rights Commission

2022

5

Inclusive culture - Agencies to implement the disability liaison officer model to support employees with disability.

All agencies supported by Australian Public Service Commission, Australian Human Rights Commission, National Disability Insurance Agency and Services Australia

2022 

6

Inclusive culture - Improve disability awareness and confidence to create an inclusive culture.

All agencies supported by Australian Public Service Commission and Australian Human Rights Commission

2022

7

Inclusive culture - Agencies to review business practices to include workplace adjustments and to embed conversations about workplace adjustments into all stages of the employee lifecycle.

All agencies

2021

8

Inclusive culture - Ensure employees with disability are supported and encouraged to take up mobility and career development opportunities.

All agencies

2023

9

Accessibility - Agencies to ensure all internal and external products and services are accessible.

All agencies

2023

10

Accessibility - Audit of existing Australian Government owned and rented premises for their current levels of accessibility.

Department of Finance

2021

11

Accessibility - Collaborate to share assistive technology and equipment across APS agencies and digital environments.

Department of Social Services and Digital Transformation Agency

2023

12

Accessibility - Agencies must consider accessibility when procuring goods and services.

Department of Finance

2023

Ensuring progress

Monitoring, evaluation, and reporting

Outcome: We will monitor the implementation of the Strategy, evaluate progress and adjust actions as required to ensure success.

Action

Lead/s

Projected delivery date

13

Monitor and report progress.

Australian Public Service Commission

2023

14

Build a clear understanding across the APS of the benefits of sharing and updating disability status in HR systems. Monitor and report on reported levels and their links to culture, accessibility and job satisfaction.

Australian Public Service Commission

2022

Departments and Agencies

Outcome: Departments and agencies will collaborate to leverage good practice across the APS.

Action

Lead/s

Projected delivery date

15

Build a partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission to identify, support and enhance good practice.

Australian Public Service Commission

Ongoing

16

Agencies to collaborate to develop and share exemplary initiatives and innovative practices.

All agencies

Ongoing

The Senior Executive Service

Outcome: We will ensure that the Strategy is implemented across all agencies and that accountability for action rests with senior APS leadership.

Action

Lead/s

Projected delivery date

17

All Heads of departments and agencies will be accountable for implementing the Strategy and taking actions to support the key areas of the Strategy.

All agencies

Ongoing

18

Disability Champions are to promote and drive implementation of the Strategy within their agency and collaborate APS-wide through the APS Disability Champions Network.

Chair, APS Disability Champions Network, and Australian Public Service Commission

Ongoing

Last reviewed: 
3 December 2020