The Australian Government’s response to the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations References Committee’s Report, ‘The administration and purchasing of Disability Employment Services in Australia’ was tabled in the Parliament today.
Minister for Employment Participation Kate Ellis said that the Government was committed to ensuring that people with disability have access to the best possible employment services.
“Labor Governments have a long and proud history of reform to address discrimination, protect rights and support people with disability into work. Strong performing employment services are vital to realising these rights to work,” Ms Ellis said.
“Our Government will spend almost $3 billion on Disability Employment Services over the next four years, which is good news for people with disability and underlines our commitment to increasing the workforce participation of people with disability.”
In the 2011-12 Budget the Australian Government included some important changes to employment services, including a competitive tender process for Disability Employment Services - Employment Support Services.
This open tender will allow the Australian Government to consider all the available options and to determine which organisations have the capacity to deliver the best outcomes for people with disability and employers.
Ms Ellis welcomed the support of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations and other disability consumer organisations who have supported the decision to open Disability Employment Services to a competitive tender process.
“Supporting people with disability to find and keep work is critically important and I believe that we owe it to those people who rely on these services, to deliver them the very best possible support,” Ms Ellis said.
High performing Disability Employment Services providers, those who are operating at a 4 or 5 star level will have their outstanding process rewarded and will not be required to tender for their existing business but will also be given the opportunity to expand and assist more job seekers in new places.
“High quality employment services are an important part of increasing workforce participation and raising productivity,” Ms Ellis said.
“We must ensure that the most vulnerable Australians are able to join the workforce, earn a wage and enjoy the dignity and self-respect they deserve.”