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Ministers’ foreword

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We acknowledge all Indigenous Australians and their continuing connection to Country, culture and community.

The Australian Government values the immeasurable contribution people with disability make to Australian communities, workplaces and our economy. People with disability have the right to lead rich, fulfilling and diverse lives and a key area where government can do more is employment.

We know that people with disability want greater opportunities to fully participate in the economic life of our nation. People with disability can sometimes find it hard to get a job and keep it. For people with disability who want a job, we need to support them to find and keep one.

Employment is the key to unlocking improved economic security, independence and wellbeing for all Australians, including people with disability. Employment gives people more choice and opportunity to fulfil their other ambitions in life.

As a nation, we need to rise to the challenge of improving the employment outcomes for people with disability. All workplaces have a role to play, including the Australian Public Service (APS). With more than 150,000 employees, the APS is one of the largest employers in Australia, with an enormous range of roles and opportunities.

The Australian Public Service Disability Employment Strategy 2020–25 is an important part of the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to improving the employment outcomes for people with disability. Continuing the momentum from the previous APS disability employment strategy, this new Strategy sets out a comprehensive plan to improve the employment outcomes for people with disability. It aligns with the National Disability Strategy and reinforces the Australian Government’s commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Improving the representation of people with disability at all levels in the APS is a critical first step to ensuring the APS workforce reflects the communities they serve. Therefore, this Strategy sets out an ambitious vision for achieving a significant increase in representation of people with disability employed in the APS. If we approach recruitment differently, focus on ability and provide appropriate supports, then together we can make a real difference.

In order to achieve positive long-term employment outcomes for people with disability, APS agencies also need to create accessible, innovative and inclusive workplaces for new and existing employees with disability. This will enable all employees to perform at their best.

It is imperative that leaders across the APS work collaboratively to drive change and innovation. By working together to embed an inclusive culture, improve recruitment processes and streamline accessibility, we can create rewarding career pathways and increase the recruitment and retention of people with disability in the APS.

The Hon Ben Morton, MP
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Senator the Hon Anne Ruston
Minister for Families and Social Services

Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Message

I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land on which we operate. I pay my respect to the Elders, past, present and emerging, acknowledging their history and continued connection to Country.

I am proud to present the Australian Public Service Disability Employment Strategy 2020–25 (the Strategy).

We have a responsibility to create a workforce that represents and best serves the Australian community. Our goal is to increase the employment of people with disability across the APS to 7% by 2025.

Aligning with the APS reform agenda and the National Disability Strategy, the Strategy sets out an ambitious change in culture and mindset for the APS. We must continue to build on the strengths of agencies that have already demonstrated successful models for employment of people with disability. Sharing resources, success stories and engaging with expertise will assist in delivering the cultural shifts necessary. This Strategy itself is an example of strong collaboration between agencies across the APS. It was developed by a cross-agency team, led by the Australian Public Service Commission and the Department of Social Services.

It is also the product of extensive consultation with people with disability, both within and outside the APS. I would like to acknowledge their contributions to this Strategy and the important role that the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Ben Gauntlett, played in helping to enable this consultation to occur. Examples of this are the two consultation sessions with groups of young people with disability who could be potential APS employees that were held in Sydney and Melbourne. They provided valuable insights that have informed the development of this Strategy.

The government and the Australian community have high expectations for the outcomes delivered by the APS. A workforce that reflects the diversity of the Australian community will help produce programs, polices and services that meet the community’s diverse needs. There are clear benefits in having stronger representation of people with disability in the APS.

Alongside a strong focus on recruitment, the Strategy focuses on the need for improvement in our workplace culture and employment environment. To succeed, we must attract, retain, develop, support and value people with disability in our organisations.

Accountability will be critical in driving change on this scale. Taking ownership and responsibility for progress will be key to our success. We all have a role to play.

Mr Peter Woolcott AO
Commissioner, Australian Public Service Commission

Department of Social Services Secretary’s Message

I acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia and acknowledge the continuing connection to land, waters and community. I pay my respects to the people, the culture and the Elders, past, present and emerging.

The Department of Social Services has a leading role in the development and implementation of the Australian Government’s approach to support people with disability in all facets of life, particularly increasing the number of people with disability employed in the APS. Employment is a key enabler of wellbeing and economic prosperity.

The Australian Public Service Disability Employment Strategy 2020–25 provides an important roadmap to increase disability employment across the APS.

With 4.4 million people in Australia identifying as having a disability, improving the representation of people with disability is vital to building a workforce that better reflects the diversity of the Australian community we serve. 

The government rightly expects the APS to set an example to other employers of the benefits of accessing a diverse talent pool and the value of employing people with disability.

There are already outstanding APS examples of leadership in disability employment, including the Department of Social Services, Services Australia, the National Disability Insurance Agency, the Australian Taxation Office and the Department of Defence, which all agencies can learn from and emulate.

To make the APS an employer of choice for people with disability, and to achieve our target of a 7% employment rate by 2025, all agencies must take an active approach to recruitment, promotion and retention.

I encourage all APS agencies to embed the objectives of this Strategy within their organisation. I am confident the APS will look to the Strategy to build their future workforce.

Ms Kathryn Campbell AO, CSC
Secretary, Department of Social Services

Our vision

The Australian Public Service Disability Employment Strategy 2020–25 provides a foundation for building an inclusive and diverse Australian Public Service.

The Strategy has two focus areas:

  • Attract, recruit and retain more people with disability
  • Accessible and inclusive workplace cultures and environments

There is a strong interrelationship between the elements of this Strategy. First, attraction, recruitment, and retention; and secondly accessible and inclusive workplace cultures. This is important because disability can affect anyone, at any age, and at any stage of the employment cycle.

Existing employees and disability employee networks will be key allies for change. Leadership, at all levels and in every agency, will be required to ensure the Strategy achieves its outcomes.

Through collective and sustained effort, we can create an APS culture that benefits and supports all people with disability.

Infinity graphic	Infinity symbol graphic representing the strong interrelationship between the elements of this Strategy. First, attraction, recruitment, and retention; and secondly accessible and inclusive workplace cultures.

 

Last reviewed: 
3 December 2020