Working people with a disability are being represented at Australia’s first national conference today to discuss issues including poor wages and conditions, neglect and discrimination in the workplace.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the conference would provide a forum for people with a disability to discuss their employment concerns and how their needs can be properly met.
“We need more job opportunities for workers with a disability, especially in open employment in the general workforce. These jobs must offer a decent future,” Ms Burrow said.
“Many people with disabilities have had to deal with inappropriate working conditions, neglect or discrimination for too long. This conference is an opportunity for people with a disability to be heard.”
The inaugural Workers with a Disability conference in Melbourne will look at ways to assist people with disabilities including better training and skills development and improved pay and conditions.
Ms Burrow will deliver the keynote speech to the conference, which is being attended by workers with a disability, community advocacy groups, trade unions and government training and welfare authorities.
“Government, employers and the community must listen to what workers with a disability are saying about their needs in the workplace and the broader society,” Ms Burrow said.
“There are good employers of workers with a disability, but more needs to be done across the board. There is a need for unions, employers and governments to work together to secure a better future for Australians with a disability.”
There are more than 900,000 Australian workers with a disability, with another 100,000 looking for work, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.