The Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O’Connor, announced details of the new Disability Employment Services (DES) at the Australian Financial Review Skills Conference in Sydney.
From March 1, 2010 existing caps on services will be removed and all job seekers with disability will have access to individually tailored employment services while employers will be have access to greater support.
Following the release of a discussion paper in December, the Government has made three key changes to the new services to include:
- Direct registration for school leavers into the Disability Employment Services to significantly improve school to work transition for job seekers.
- Changing the definition of employment outcomes to include employment with multiple employers over a 26 week period.
- Increasing the number of job placement fees per job seeker from two to four for up to two years.
- The new service will give job seekers and their families greater certainty and allow providers to work with schools, hospitals and allied health organisations to place job seekers into work.
Job seekers will receive more personalised employment services better suited to their needs and with stronger links to skills development and training.
A new Employee Assistance Fund will better support employers with broader access to workplace modifications and Auslan interpreting services. The new service also includes an intermittent post-placement support option which will better support employees with episodic disability including mental health.
The new service removes red tape by streamlining four separate programs into two and reducing nine different fee levels to three.
From March 1 next year providers will have greater scope to plan services and will receive payment quarterly in advance instead of the current system of monthly in arrears.
A review of the current DES found the current system forced some job seekers to wait for services, inflexible for both job seekers and employers and laden with red tape.
The new services will substantially improve services for job seekers with a disability, their families and carers, employers and employment service providers.
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.
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 well below that of people without a disability and today more people with psychiatric and physical disabilities are accessing disability employment services.
The DES are 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.