Release type: Media Release


New Employment Services for People with Disability

The Federal Government today released a proposed new model for disability employment services which will ensure all job seekers with disability can access individually tailored employment services.

The new model is outlined in a discussion paper on the future of disability employment services, released today by the Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O’Connor to coincide with International Day of People with Disability.

The discussion paper follows extensive consultations with key stakeholders including people with disability and their advocates, peak welfare and industry associations, employment services providers and employers.

The recent review identified a need for change with the current system forcing some job seekers to wait for services, which are inflexible for both job seekers and employers and laden with red tape.

The capping of services prevents disability employment providers from partnering with schools to plan for the school to work transition of students with disability, and leads to thousands of vulnerable people being stuck in the wrong program each year.

“The current system of capped services is nonsensical and unfair,” said Mr O’Connor.Mr O’Connor said the proposed new model would substantially improve services for job seekers with a disability, their families and carers, employers and employment service providers.

Under the proposed new model:

  • Services will be uncapped with all eligible job seekers with disability, including school leavers, able to access to a place in employment services
  • Services will be tailored to the better meet the needs of job seekers with disability and more responsive to employers
  • Stronger incentives for providers to place job seekers in training , which will contribute to better, longer term employment outcomes for job seekers and help to address Australia’s skills crisis
  • Red tape will be reduced and administration streamlined, allowing providers more time to help people with disability to find employment.

Funding for remote services will be substantially increased with current loadings of 20 and 30 per cent boosted up to 70 per cent.

“People with disability want to work, whether a person is recovering from serious injury, the onset of illness or impairment or managing a disability since birth, ,” Mr O’Connor said.

“And we know that work is one of the most significant ways people can participate socially and economically in their communities.

“However the rate of employment of people with a disability is still only half that of people without a disability. We also know that today more people with psychiatric and physical disabilities are accessing disability employment services than in the past.

Mr O’Connor said the new Disability Employment Services would begin onMarch 1 2010 and was designed to operate in parallel to universal employment services while retaining a focus on providing employment services specific for people with disabilities.

The review is part of the Rudd Government's National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy which Mr O'Connor is undertaking with the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Bill Shorten.

Further consultation sessions on the discussion paper will be around the nation from December 8 to 12.

The discussion paper is available at Written submissions close 30 January 2009. Details about consultations are on the website or by phoning 1800 064 516.