Speech by The Hon Jane Prentice MP

Announcement of the Information, Linkages and Capacity-Building National Readiness Grant Recipients

$14 Million for a More Inclusive Australia for All People with Disability


I would like to welcome everyone and acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet and pay my respects to their elders – past, present and emerging and indeed elders of any culture who have joined us today.

It is my pleasure to be joined by:

  • Ms Frances Quan Farrant and Ms Kobie Kicks from People with Disability Australia
  • Steve Mallet and the team from the NDIS

Today I’m here to announce the successful recipients of the recent Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) National Readiness Grant Round, a vital component of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

ILC is all about community inclusion and raising awareness – making sure people with disability are connected into their communities.

There are 4.3 million people with disability in Australia and only 460,000 of those people are expected to be eligible for the NDIS.

This is why it is important that we continue to strengthen the mainstream services available for all people with disability – and that is what the ILC aims to do.

I’m delighted to announce 39 grants totalling more than $14 million have been provided to organisations around Australia to make the community more accessible and inclusive of people with disability.

I don’t envy the judging panel and I am told it was a very competitive process.

Nineteen projects will be national or cover multiple States and Territories.

Eight projects have been funded in both Victoria and New South Wales, three in South Australia and one in Queensland.

There is a great spread of projects targeting key cohorts across the community, with initiatives spanning across education, employment, social participation, cultural awareness, sport and health.

I am also pleased that a number of the projects have a focus on supporting people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds and people in urban, regional and remote settings.

Many of the projects involve engaging with community and mainstream services to design and develop strategies to improve awareness and competency to meet the needs of people with disability and be inclusive in mainstream settings.

I am here today to hear more about the Economic Activation E-Hub initiative from People with Disability Australia.

Congratulations to People with Disability Australia on being successful in the ILC Grant Readiness Round.

I understand your project will create an online hub, accessible Australia-wide, where mainstream employers can connect with people with disability who are seeking career development opportunities to promote inclusive employment practices.

The E-Hub will help to break down barriers to economic participation for people with disabilities by encouraging communication and connections between employers and people with disabilities.

The Australian Government is committed to helping people with disability get jobs with mainstream employers.

This is something I am passionate about and I would like to take this opportunity to say to employers out there, you are doing your organisation a disservice if you are not considering giving a person with disability a job.

People with disability make fantastic employers – in fact, there are a number of employers out there who are actively targeting and recruiting people with disability because of their reliability, loyalty, and attention to detail.

In the Federal Budget last week, the Government announced our $3 billion plan over the next four years to strengthen Disability Employment Services and associated services.

In 2015, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that labour force participation for people with disabilities has not changed since 2012 and Australians with disability are more likely to be unemployed compared to their peers without disability.

We currently rank 21 out of 29 OECD countries in terms of our employment rate for people with disability. We must do better.

This is why capacity building and awareness raising projects, like the E-Hub, are so important so that people with disability are included in all aspects of community life and can achieve their goals.

It’s also about ensuring people with disability have the skills and confidence to participate and contribute to the community and protect their rights.

I congratulate all the successful grant recipients and encourage other organisations to consider applying for future grants to ensure all people with disability can lead an ordinary life including participation in education, getting a job, having somewhere to live and enjoying the company of friends and family.