Release type: Media Release

Date:

Fund open to help more people with disability into jobs

Ministers:

The Hon Kate Ellis MP
Minister for Early Childhood, Childcare and Youth
Minister for Employment Participation

A new one-off fund worth $1.6 million is now open for new smart projects that help more Australians with disability into work.

Employment Participation Minister Kate Ellis said the Government was encouraging organisations with innovative ideas to apply for grants as part of the new National Disability Employment Initiative.

“We know that many people with disability want to be part of the workforce, and use their skills and talents in an interesting and rewarding job,” Ms Ellis said.

“Our Government is taking the opportunity to look for new ways to boost the participation rate of people with disability in the Australian workforce.”

In 2010 the OECD reported that Australia was ranked 21 out of 29 countries in terms of employment participation for people with disability.

“Australia needs to lift its game in this area and we have put in place a number of measures to make sure that happens,” Ms Ellis said.

“We’re aiming to get into the top 10 OECD countries in terms of participation rates and this Fund is the latest initiative to help get us there.”

“It would be wonderful to see submissions from a range of organisations—including social enterprises, universities, recruitment agencies, employment services providers, not-for-profit organisations and employers.

“Changes in work and industries and technology are constantly opening up new ways of working and we should be looking to harness opportunities that are out there.

“Through this initiative we are looking for fresh, genuinely innovative approaches to helping people with disability get into the workforce.”

For example, organisations may wish to trial an approach in Australia that has been successful overseas, or an approach which is more suitable for a particular disability cohort.

The Australian Government is investing more than $3 billion over four years in Disability Employment Services and the additional funding under the NDEI will allow new approaches to be trialled.

The design and outcomes from selected projects will feed into the development of disability employment services and support service models.

Work Focus Australia has agreed to manage the NDEI projects on behalf of the Government.

WorkFocus Group CEO Rob Gordon said the organisation was privileged to be part of the NDEI.

“The NDEI program has the potential to change the future of people with disability through its fresh approaches to workplace inclusion,” Mr Gordon said.

Applications for the NDEI close 5pm (AEST) 22 August 2013.

Information about the NDEI is available at www.workfocusgroup.com/ndei or via 08 6444 6868.