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Community, Disability

Almost half of Australians are estimated to have one or more chronic health conditions, impacting participation in the Australian workforce

atWork Australia 2 mins read

With the Australian population ageing, chronic disease prevalence is on the rise. Living with chronic conditions can have a substantial impact on an individual’s health, affect their quality of life and can impact their participation in the workforce.2


In 2022, the AIHW reported that chronic conditions are an ongoing cause of considerable burden and disability in Australia. It estimated that in 2020–20211;

  • Almost half (47%) of Australians (11.6 million people) had at least one common chronic condition
  • Around 25% (over 5 million) of Australians had at least two chronic conditions.


For many people, their condition and resulting treatment may prompt them to reconsider next steps in their career. Moreover, changes in physical or mental capability, or the length of time away from work, may make returning to a previous role more difficult.3


As someone who lives with a chronic health condition and successfully returned to the workforce, East Gippsland resident, Peter, knows firsthand how difficult it can be. 


Peter, now aged 51 years old, is one of the 11.6 million Australians who live with a chronic health condition, experiencing chronic migraines lasting up to 10 days at a time.


“I’ve always been motivated to work and know it’s an important way to contribute to the community. I tried to get a couple of jobs but was finding it difficult to find work that would take me on as a result of my condition and what I was qualified and experienced do to,” said Peter. 


As Peter continued to be challenged to find long term employment on his own, he was recommended to get in touch with atWork Australia, where he was connected with a Job Coach for support.


“They have always been really understanding of my health condition and supported me to take the first step, never pushed me to do something that wasn’t going to be right for me. I appreciated the time to think about what could work for me and what I was interested in exploring further,” continued Peter.

Through support and mentorship, Peter began to build the confidence he needed to take the next steps to secure employment. Working collaboratively with Peter, his Job Coach helped him to identify his key skills, what relevant experience he had, and what his main interests were.  


Since starting his new role as a Disability Support Worker in 2022, Peter has gone from strength to strength, impressing his employers every step of the way. Looking back on his journey, Peter is proud that he reached out for help and is grateful for the support his Job Coach, and the atWork Australia team, gave him.  


atWork Australia believe work’s for everyone and recognises the importance of working alongside employers, to connect them with eager and job-ready candidates like Peter. To find out more about atWork Australia’s support services, please visit: 



About us:

atWork Australia has been delivering employment services on behalf of the Australian Government since 2003. From more than 360 locations around the nation, atWork Australia delivers Disability Employment Services (DES), Workforce Australia and ParentsNext, connecting people and business so both can thrive.

Partnering with more than 3,500 employers across the country, atWork Australia placed 18,400 Australians into meaningful and sustainable employment in 2022, across a diverse range of industries and occupations.

Contact details:

Shannon Camilleri, SenateSHJ, +61 413 144 184 /


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