Looking at the employment challenges and opportunities for people with disability and how Queensland is shaping up for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the focus of Griffith University’s fifth NDIS symposium held today.

People with disabilities, their families and carers, service providers, government personnel, academics and disability researchers, will come together to share knowledge and experiences around the core elements of the NDIS at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

From July 1, 2016, the NDIS scheme — a generational reform which aims to deliver a national system of disability support focussed on the individual needs of people with disability – will be progressively rolled out across all of Queensland with completion due by June 30, 2019. A launch site is to be announced soon.

Official opening

To be officially opened by the Queensland Government Treasurer Curtis Pitt, Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, the event will look at the plans for the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and how people and their families and carers, can be better positioned to have economic security and employment support.

Judy Hartley, manager of Griffith’s student equity services will discuss some of the positive changes in attitudes to social inclusion.

“Education and employment contexts are continuously changing and while there are many pathways that people can consider, each person’s pathway will be unique.

Education and employment

“The NDIS presents an opportunity not only for people with disabilities to access employment, but also for them to engage more effectively with education in having improved access to technology and personal support, as well as enhanced aspirations for continuing their education throughout their lives,” she said.

Meanwhile, Peter Symonds, from disability organisation Ability Tasmania Group, will discuss how people with an intellectual disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder are currently being removed from community-based employment. He will outline concerns about the role of the NDIS and the Disability Employment Services program in returning people to non-work segregated services rather than open employment.

Meeting the challenges

“Unfortunately, Australia’s workforce participation rate for people with disability is low, ranked 21 out of 29OECDcountries on performance for disability employment. However there are many people with disabilities who are so capable and have so much to offer the workforce; we need to find ways to go forward with the challenges presented,” says organiser and Pro-Vice Chancellor of Logan campus, Professor Lesley Chenoweth.

“We are also delighted to have The Hon Susan Ryan, Age and Disability Commissioner, present on issues around discrimination in the workforce.

“Griffith has built a great reputation over the past year in engaging with the NDIS issues at a deeper level. This particular symposium will see everyone from researchers, people with disability and families, along with service providers and government personnel coming to the table to move things forward on these crucial questions.”