Media Release by Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Improving job opportunities for people with disability

The disability employment market is now open for business as part of the Government’s commitment to helping people with disability find jobs.

“For the first time ever, all Disability Employment Services (DES) are now being delivered through competitive contracts by providers who have demonstrated their ability to help people with disability find and keep a job,” Minister Fifield said.

In May 2014, the Australian Government announced that the 47% of Disability Employment Services delivered by CRS Australia – totalling more than $141 million a year – would be thrown open to the non-government sector via a competitive tender arrangement.

“The non-government sector has shown that it can effectively deliver improved employment outcomes for people with disability,” Minister Fifield said.

The successful non-government organisations started delivering disability employment services from December last year, with CRS Australia closing completely last month.

“This measure is all about giving job-seekers with disability confidence that their DES-DMS provider has demonstrated their ability to achieve high quality employment outcomes and that they therefore have the best chance possible of finding and keeping a job.”.

“These high performing organisations are able to get people into employment and help them manage their disability, injury or health condition while working,” Minister Fifield said.

“48 organisations won the business previously delivered by one government provider. This gives people with disability more choice when selecting their DES provider.”

Minister Fifield said that almost 21,000 people with disability have been transferred to a successful service provider who will continue to support them to find employment or help them maintain employment.

“This is a great outcome for job seekers with disability. It’s been a seamless change to a better way of working.”

“These changes will help more people with disability access the services of higher performing providers with a demonstrated ability to help people into work.”

In connection with the Australian Network on Disability, the Government has hosted a number of Business Roundtables this month to focus on the barriers businesses face in employing a person with disability, and where the current system does not meet their needs.

“People with disability want to work. But we cannot improve employment opportunities for people with disability if we don’t have a system that supports both job seekers and employers,” Minister Fifield said.

“The Commonwealth invests almost $1 billion each year to support people with disability into employment. But we know the system needs improving.”

“These roundtables have helped to start a conversation with businesses about employing people with disability.”

Overwhelmingly I have been told that unless the system is built to work for business, it won’t work for people with disability,” Minister Fifield said.

“These consultations will feed into the Government’s broader reform agenda for DES. All DES services are contracted until 2018, providing an opportunity to reshape the system at that time.”


Disability Employment Services in Australia are currently assisting over 165,000 people with disability into employment and have placed over 243,000 people into jobs since it began.

Disability Employment Services – Disability Management Service providers help people -many of whom have acquired a disability, injury or health condition – get back on track and into work. They help employers with recruitment, workplace modifications, training and ongoing support.

Further details of local Disability Employment Service providers are available online at