Being employed in a fulfilling job has psychological benefits that translate to physical, social and economic benefits. Not only does work improve health outcomes, it promotes participation in society, independence and financial stability. It allows an individual to feel that they are valued and can contribute to society. Work is important on many levels and can provide meaning and focus for our lives. Positive relationships with co-workers can also result in increased social satisfaction and decreased feelings of social isolation, which can also provide significant benefits for your overall well-being.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) aims to break down disability employment barriers that currently make it difficult for more people with disabilities to engage in meaningful and long-term employment. With the gradual introduction of the NDIS (and Queensland’s version: Your Life Your Choice), Australia’s employment rate should hopefully increase, as stress is lifted from unpaid carers, and meaningful roles are given to Australians with a disability (which is almost one in five Australians- 4.3 million people, according to 2015 ABS data).
The NDIS arose after Commission’s inquiry in 2011 on Disability Care and Support found that Australia’s system of disability support was inequitable, underfunded, fragmented, inefficient, and gave people with disability little choice and no certainty of access to appropriate supports.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme Act was passed in 2013, and the full roll out started from July 1st 2016. The NDIS is currently being rolled out across Australia and will be available in all areas by 2019.
A Productivity Commission report predicts that the NDIS will result in an additional 320,000 people with disabilities being employed by 2050. The current number of NDIS participants is 475 000 as seen in the figure below, demonstrating the bigger picture of support systems in Australia.
In addition to NDIS participants, it is predicted that 80,000 unpaid carers will have the opportunity to join the workforce. To give you some context, the ABS reported there were 2.7 million unpaid carers in Australia in 2015, with more than half (55%) of primary carers providing care for at least 20 hours per week. You can see how this effects their ability to obtain long-term employment and why a support system is needed for not only the disabled, but those people also effected, such as carers. These unpaid carers are currently locked out of the employment market, however with the support of the NDIS, Australian’s with disabilities will have the opportunity to participate in the workforce, in turn allowing their carers to obtain work.
The NDIS will fund support to assist Australians living with a disability to achieve their employment goals, including funding towards:
- Assistance building skills and capacity to participate in employment
- Finding and maintaining employment
- Personal care or assistance with transport
- Assistive technology devices, such as wheelchairs, personal communication devices or hearing aids
- Supported employment, such as services offered by Australian Disability Enterprises.
The NDIS are working closely with participants to create individual plans, designed to build on their strengths and interests and achieve their employment goals. Once implemented in all areas across Australia by 2019, this will positively impact Australian’s living with a disability and continue to support them in their search for meaningful employment.
Empowering people to achieve is important, and we believe that whole heartedly.
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