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The number of people with a disability participating in the workforce in Australia has fallen in the past 20 years, new figures show, reports ABC News. In 1993, 55% of Australians with a disability were employed, compared to 77% of people without a disability, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
However, that figure dropped to 53% last year, compared with 83% of people without a disability participating in the workforce. Approximately 18% of Australians have a disability, yet Australia ranks almost at the bottom for workforce participation of the disabled among OECD nations.
A 2011 study by Access Economics found that closing the gap in labour market participation between people with a disability and those without by a third would add AUD 43 billion (USD ) to Australia’s GDP over the next decade.
The report said such a move would be achievable, and that Australia should push employment levels for people with a disability to 64%, a level already surpassed by neighbouring New Zealand.