Working towards a more disability inclusive society

Australia Post has an important role to play in improving inclusion and access for people with disability. As an employer, a service provider and a community member, we understand how important it is for people with disability to lead the conversation and participate in building a more disability inclusive Australia.

Inclusion is a crucial part of building a strong society and in essence means that no-one is left behind. International Day of People with Disability is a chance to reflect on where we are at with disability inclusion and what to focus on next. The theme for this year is ‘Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world’.

Australia Post has an important role to play both for our own team members with disability, and for the customers and communities we serve.

Australia Post Group CEO & Managing Director, Paul Graham

Millions of people across Australia live with disability. Almost 1 in 5 Australians identifies as having disability, and this increases to 1 in 4 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait people. Older people are also more likely to acquire disability, with the incidence increasing to 2 in 5 people. In addition, over 10% of Australians are carers for a person with disability, with 7 in 10 of these carers identifying as women1.

What is a disability?

When we talk about disability, we mean any condition that restricts a person’s mental, sensory or mobility functions whether caused by accident, trauma, genetics or disease. A disability may be temporary or permanent, total or partial, lifelong or acquired, visible or invisible.

It’s important to remember that not all disability is visible. 10% of Australians have dyslexia, which is around 2 million people. 25% of Australians - or around 4.96 million people - will experience an anxiety condition in their lifetime.2 Australia Post understands the importance of making the workplace, and their products and services accessible and recognises the importance of making workplace adjustments for our team members who require this.

There are so many different disabilities and a lot of them are hidden. Mine’s a hidden disability - people will look at me and say there’s nothing wrong with you!

Co-chair of Australia Post’s Accessibility Matters Employee Reference Group, Harry Zechariah

What is Disability Accessibility and Inclusion?

Disability inclusion means that individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in every aspect of life and employment to the fullest extent. These opportunities, whether through employment or outside of work, include participation in education, employment, public health programming, community living, and service learning.

Disability accessibility is when the needs of people with disabilities are specifically considered, and products, services, and facilities are built or modified so that they can be used by people of all abilities. This is especially important when applying to employees with disabilities.

Supporting people with disability at Australia Post

We launched our first Accessibility and Inclusivity Action Plan nine years ago. Currently, over 5.7% of our employees identify as having a disability3. We recently became Australia’s largest employer to be recognised as a Disability Confident Recruiter.

Australia Post received these letters from a couple of young fellas who hadn’t worked anywhere before because they had disabilities and were considered, or they considered themselves, unemployable. We were able to get these guys in as Christmas casuals.

Co-chair of Australia Post’s Accessibility Matters Employee Reference Group, Harry Zechariah

The Accessibility Matters Employee Reference Group is one driving force behind the increase in inclusion and access for people with disability and their carers at Australia Post. The group actively advises senior leaders and provides insights and feedback. Customer feedback has also led to us improving the accessibility of our Parcel Lockers. Customers can now pick a lower Parcel Locker if that’s more convenient for them.

In the past two years this network has really grown to take a leadership role in driving for change – from designing dignified access to our workspaces, to helping us design more accessible and inclusive products and services for all our customers.

Australia Post Group CEO & Managing Director, Paul Graham

Members of the Accessibility Matters group are currently involved in the design of our new Richmond premises. Through applying universal design principles, we’re working to create a shared space which is accessible, comfortable and welcoming to staff and customers alike.

I've had the privilege of considering the work of the Disability Matters Employee Reference Group and their efforts to ensure people with disability are given opportunities in leadership roles but also their emphasis on active and meaningful participation of people with disability now and in the future.

Disability Discrimination Commissioner and Australia Post Stakeholder Council member, Dr Paul Gauntlett

Working to set Access and Inclusion standards

Our focus on access and inclusion doesn’t stop with the workplace. When we host live events for our team or our community, inclusion practices considered include AUSLAN interpretation, live captions, transcripts and dedicated support for attendees who are People with Disability. For the first time, our Spread the Merry Christmas TV campaign is now audio described.

The international Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) set accessibility standards for all digital products. This includes websites, apps, emails and anything else that you might read or engage with on your phone, tablet or computer. While these guidelines are not mandated for every business, Australia Post works to an ‘AA’ standard, which is above the suggested minimum.

This means that People with Disability, for example, people who use a screen reader on the internet, require a lower reading age for fuller comprehension or are colour blind, will have their needs accounted for.

As we mark International Day of People with Disability this year, I want to acknowledge the great work that Australia Post is doing in the leadership and participation for people with disability both inside Australia Post and in the broader community.

Disability Discrimination Commissioner and Australia Post Stakeholder Council member, Dr Paul Gauntlett

We hope that people and businesses across Australia will get behind increasing active participation and partnership with people with disability. Unlocking opportunities for everyone how we can create a more accessible and inclusive society.

Read our 2020-2022 Accessibility and Inclusion plan (PDF 5MB) to learn more about how we’re making our workplace, products and services more inclusive and accessible for everyone.

Download the Easy English version of our Accessibility and Inclusion Plan.

1 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2019, 4430.0 - Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia 2018

2 ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 27

3 Australia Post Workforce Metrics August 2020 and Employee Engagement Survey March 2019