The latest ABS statistics on disability in Australia identify discrimination, low workforce participation and low incomes as major barriers preventing people with disability from living full and happy lives.
The results of the 2015 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers have just been released and they provide a snapshot of disability in Australia while helping to measure our progress as a nation.
The numbers show that the rate of disability in Australia remains steady, with 4.3 million or almost one in five Australians living with disability. This proportion increases in older people, with two in five Australians over the age of 65 experiencing disability. One third of Australians with disability have a profound or severe disability.
Three in five people with disability need help with at least one activity of everyday life, and a large majority (just over 80 per cent) draw on informal assistance from their family or community. Just over half receive assistance from formal care providers. But while around two thirds of all people needing assistance receive it, the remaining third report not having their needs fully met or not having their needs met at all.
The report identifies discrimination, workforce participation and low incomes as major barriers to social and economic participation.
Young people with disability are the worst affected by discrimination, with one in five people aged 15-25 reporting experiencing discrimination. This is ten times higher than the rate reported by those aged 65 years or older.
People with disability are still much less likely to be working than people without disability. Only 53 per cent of people with disability are in the workforce, compared with 83 per cent of other Australians. And people with disability earn less than half of the average weekly income of those without disability.
These are big challenges but it’s important to remember that the results are based on surveys taken in 2015, when the rollout of the NDIS was only just beginning.
These numbers will help inform policy and priority areas as the NDIS continues to roll out across the country, and we’re certainly hoping to see better results when the next survey comes out.
You can read the full report here.