Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

Employment boost for people with mental illness in North NSW

Ministers:

The Hon Kate Ellis MP
Minister for Employment Participation
Minister for Child Care

A pilot project designed to assist people with mental health issues find and sustain employment will be launched in the New South Wales North Coast region.

Minister for Employment Participation and Child Care Kate Ellis, and Member for Richmond Justine Elliot today announced more than $169 000 in funding from the Government’s Innovation Fund for theLived Experience project.

“People with mental illness experience significant barriers to employment, even though they may have an invaluable contribution to make in the workplace,” Ms Ellis said.

“Around 20 North Coast job seekers with mental health issues will participate in the Lived Experience project.”

“They will work with local mental health services and Disability Employment Service providers to design an employer education package that will help employers better support their employees with mental illness.”

“The project will also develop a new model of training and support to help people with non-chronic mental illness to find employment pathways in the mental health sector.”

The project, which will be run by ACE North Coast, will work with local Registered Training Organisations to deliver a training and work experience program to participants, who will graduate with a recognised vocational qualification in Mental Health.

“I am delighted that the New South Wales North Coast region has been chosen to host this fantastic pilot project,” Ms Elliot said.

“The project will identify local employers in the Lismore, Byron, Tweed and Richmond Valley regions, who are willing to provide participants with not only work experience, but the opportunity to continue with a job.

“This is a great opportunity not only for people living with mental illness on the North Coast, but also for the community as a whole to be a leader in creating better employment outcomes for all Australians facing mental health challenges.”

The ACE North Coast project is one of 12 Innovation Fund projects targeting assistance to job seekers with disability, valued at approximately $2.9 million.

The 2011-12 Budget delivers $2.2 billion to deliver on the Australian Government’s commitment to make mental health a priority in this term of government.

“The Government believes we can do better than a lifetime spent on income support for Australians, who have the capacity and the willingness to work, but may need some additional support,” Ms Ellis said.

“That is why we are improving support for Australians living with a mental illness to help them into work, while providing an essential safety net for Australians unable to work.”

For more information on the Innovation Fund, visit: www.deewr.gov.au/innovationfund