Release type: Media Release

Date:

More Australians with disability seeking work

Joint Media Release with Senator The Hon Joe Ludwig, Minister for Human Services

More than 4000 Disability Support Pension recipients have volunteered for employment assistance since the Rudd Government introduced changes making it easier for DSP recipients to find work.

The Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O’Connor, and the Minister for Human Services, Senator Joe Ludwig, today welcomed the success of the new arrangements.

Since beginning in September there has been a 34 per cent increase in the number of DSP recipients volunteering to access employment services.

DSP recipients wishing to access employment services are now referred to a new ‘pre-employment referral’ which only collects information to determine the most appropriate services without affecting their eligibility for DSP.

“The overwhelming number of DSP recipients who have volunteered for assistance in finding work is a strong endorsement of the Government’s changes,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Since the Rudd Government was elected, we heard that one of the biggest disincentives for people on the DSP to look for work was they were afraid of losing their benefits.

“However the new pre-employment referral makes it easier for DSP recipients to find a job, without reviewing their pension.”

Senator Ludwig said the Government had taken a common sense approach which was paying off.

“Many people on the DSP have indicated they are keen to find employment. As a Government we have made the changes necessary to support them to achieve their goals. This is about helping people who want to help themselves,” Senator Ludwig said.

“Cutting through the red tape and giving people the information and referrals they need to get back out into the community and start participating is crucial both for the individual and the economy.”

Previously, DSP recipients who wanted to look for work had their eligibility for DSP reviewed. The new assessment looks at a job seeker’s medical condition, barriers to employment, support needs, capacity for work at the time of assessment and expected capacity after being assisted by an employment service.

Mr O’Connor said the Government is committed to removing barriers and encouraging more people with disability or mental illness into employment.

The Government has released a new Disability Employment Services model and will soon release a paper to guide the development of the National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy.