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A stronger focus on social inclusion urged

A new report by Deloitte argues that a stronger focus on social inclusion has the potential to lift the nation’s GDP by almost $12.7 billion a year. Source: Getty Images

Australia’s productivity has weakened in recent years, growing by an average of 1.1 per cent - below the long-run average of 1.5 per cent. A new report by Deloitte, commissioned by SBS, argues that a stronger focus on social inclusion has the potential to lift the nation’s GDP by almost $12.7 billion a year.

Sophea Chea runs an online florist store called Angkor Flowers and Crafts, based in Western Sydney.

It is a social enterprise she started in September 2014   that also trains migrant and refugee women floristry skills, and aims to help build confidence in their English skills. 

Ms Chea says she hopes that through the program, new arrivals in the country will feel more empowered to enter the workforce.

While previous studies show that workplace inclusion in Australia has improved over time, there is still significant scope for improvement.

Workforce participation of people with a disability is almost 30 per cent below those without a disability; the gender pay gap remains at about 15 per cent and reported experiences of discrimination because of ethnic origin or religion has more than doubled between 2007 and 2017. 

John O'Mahony, the author of a new report by Deloitte Access Economics, says social inclusion is much more than simply combating racism.

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