Disability and accessibility

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Disability and accessibility

The NSW public sector is the largest employer in Australia with approximately 400,000 employees. As one in five people in NSW have disability, we need to ensure we have a workforce that is representative of our population and that leverages a large and diverse pool of talented candidates. We want to encourage full participation from people with disability in our workforce, and to retain staff that may acquire disability during the course of their employment.

How we’re doing

In 2018, 2.5% of NSW public sector employees identified as having disability -a slight decrease from 2017 (2.7%). (See 2018 Workforce Profile Report)

Other state public sectors in Australia have seen a slight reduction in representation of people with disability in recent years, including Victoria and Western Australia. However, a key contributor to the NSW decrease was the transfer of disability services from Family and Community Services to private providers under the NDIS, as this workforce had a relatively high proportion of people with disability.

Many employees also choose not to share their disability information for a range of reasons including perceived social stigma, fear of discrimination or the irrelevance of disability to the work performed.

There is more to be done to increase the representation and inclusion of people with disability in our workforce. We’ve developed several initiatives to create an equitable work environment for people with disability in the NSW public sector. These initiatives are aimed at improving workplace culture and removing barriers, as well as ensuring we are working in partnership with people with disability.

Select an initiative below to find out more:

  • The NSW Public Service Commission worked in collaboration with the NSW Department of Family and Community Services to research the employment situation of people with disability in the NSW government sector. The Disabling the Barriers report was developed using first hand interviews with employees with disability, managers and HR practitioners as well as workforce data to understand and present a picture of the experience of people with disability in our workforce.

    This research has informed the areas of focus on disability employment for the NSW public sector.

  • The NSW Public Service Commission and the Department of Family and Community Services are working with the Disability Employment Advisory Committee and Sub-Group to inform our initiatives.

    The Committee consists of disability-focussed organisations, as well as members from the private sector and academia. The Sub-Group consists of employees with disability from across the NSW public sector. Both groups provide advice and progress initiatives to improve the representation and inclusion of people with disability in the NSW public sector.

  • The Public Service Commission is working to improve workforce culture across the sector by reinvigorating employee networks, promoting flexible working on an “if not, why not” basis, and raising awareness of the contribution people with disability make to our workforce. 

    Stereotypes and myths about disability can limit opportunities for people to fully participate in work and the community.

  • Supporting the employment of people with disability is a key focus of the PSC and is reflected in several initiatives:

    In 2016, the PSC used our Public Service Recruitment Pool initiative to undertake action research on best practice accessible recruitment practices. The assessment process was developed together with a disability focused organisation to make sure it was inclusive and accessible for people with disability. Learnings from this initiative will be shared with other NSW Government agencies to support continuous improvement.

    Also in 2016, the PSC commissioned an accessibility review of the  I work for NSW website and NSW public sector job application system (Taleo) to ensure it is accessible for people with disability. As a result of the review, a number of improvements to the application form were identified and work is continuing to make these improvements.

    The online application form for jobs advertised on the I work for NSW website provides the opportunity for applicants to indicate if they require an adjustment to make the assessment process accessible. Indicating a need for an adjustment to the assessment process due to disability or other reason allows the recruitment team or hiring manager to contact applicants to discuss their needs and make necessary arrangements to assist them to compete fairly for the role.

    The PSC’s new recruitment and selection website promotes diversity and inclusion as a core part of all recruitment and selection practices.

  • Departments are also required to develop Disability Inclusion Action Plans. The plans set out the actions Departments will take to improve access for people with disability to supports and services available in the community. This includes addressing aspects such as employment, attitudes and behaviours, and systems and processes. The NSW Department of Family and Community Services is leading this work.


PSC celebrates International Day of People with Disability

To celebrate 2017 International Day of People with Disability the PSC was fortunate to have Kate Murdoch, Disability Employment Coordinator at the Western Sydney Local Health District and international rowing Paralympian, join us for our celebration.

Read Kate's story