Not a Level Playing Field - People with Disability

Not a Level Playing Field – People with Disability builds on the Actuaries Institute’s May 2023 Green Paper that found inequality in Australia is significantly higher than in the 1980s.

Written by actuaries Hugh Miller and Laura Dixie, Not a Level Playing Field – People with Disability seeks to enrich the insights available from the earlier Paper by providing a deeper and more nuanced examination of inequalities for people with disability in Australia.

In brief:

  • Average income for people with disability is much lower than for people without disability. The gap is even wider for those with severe disability – across ages 25 to 64, disposable income is about half that of people with no disability.

  • These economic equality gaps intersect with a range of poorer social outcomes. Most notably, compared to people without disability, those with disability are:

    • 2x more likely to be living in poverty

    • 3x more likely to be unemployed or underemployed

    • 2x more likely to be suffering psychological distress

    • 3x more likely to die by suicide

    • 6x more likely to be a recent victim of violent crime

    • 6 x more likely to be incarcerated

  • There are also significant gaps in home ownership, Year 12 completion rates, and ability to access buildings and facilities. Rates of homelessness, representation in child protection and reliance on public housing and welfare payments are also higher for people with disability.

  • The Report supports the existing movement from a medical model of disability to social and rights-based models.

  • It also calls for improved data collection and the use of linked data to better understand disability within Australia to inform potential solutions.

"These gaps highlight the need to make changes to be more inclusive, and that goes beyond government policy. We need community attitudes to evolve to reduce discrimination and stigma, and companies to build disability awareness to create more inclusive workplaces that will help reduce barriers to employment."
Laura Dixie, Principal, Taylor Fry