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Workforce diversity— disability employment pathways


The Defence Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2012–2017 outlines Defence’s commitment to creating an inclusive organisation, one which maximises capability by capitalising on a diverse workforce.

One in five people in Australia identify as having some form of disability, and around 2 to 3 per cent of Australia’s population has an intellectual disability. There is a large, untapped workforce and Defence is in a position to provide opportunities for people with disability.

Defence continues to invest in creating and sustaining a range of disability employment programs and pathways, such as:

  • the Inclusive Employment Program, which offers permanent employment at the APS 1 and 2 levels for people with intellectual disability
  • the Defence Administrative Assistance Program, which offers employment through a partnership with local Australian Disability Enterprises
  • direct employment using the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions on affirmative measures
  • targeted recruitment through the Defence Graduate Program
  • implementation of an improved, client-centric approach to support people with disability and managers in accessing workplace adjustments and assistive technology to eliminate workplace barriers.

Through the above employment programs, 129 people with disability have a valued role in Defence. The cultural and capability benefits to the individuals and the organisation are significant. Defence has increased the visibility of how to reduce barriers that people with disability face in the workplace, and is leading the way in the Australian Public Service. Defence has openly shared the success of the programs across other public sector agencies to inspire others to create further employment opportunities for people with disability.