Media Release by The Hon Jane Prentice MP

Unleashing Potential in the Disability Employment Sector

The Hon Jane Prentice MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services has today reaffirmed the Australian Government’s commitment to help people with disability to get jobs with mainstream employers.

Addressing stakeholders at the National Disability Services Annual Conference in Brisbane today, the Assistant Minister outlined the Government’s $3 billion plan over the next four years to strengthen Disability Employment Services (DES) and associated services.

“It is well-known that Australians with disability are under-represented in the workforce – however, employing people with disability can deliver a range of benefits for individuals and businesses,” Mrs Prentice said.

“Since 2010, DES has achieved more than 350,000 placements, including more than 200,000 jobs lasting six months or more.

“These are great results, but we know through our consultations with disability employment providers, people with disability and employers, that DES needed to be improved.

“Changes from 1 July 2018 reflect what we have heard through our consultations: DES participants want more choice and control over the services they receive, and employers want to be able to work with their preferred DES providers.

“People in the DES program will be able to choose their DES provider, and change providers more easily, if they are not satisfied with the support they are receiving. If they change provider, the funding attached to that individual will move with them.

“DES providers will be able to expand their services into new regions, which means they can form strong relationships with employers across geographical locations and support more people with disability into work.

“Provider funding will depend on how successful they are in placing people in jobs, with higher levels of funding for placing people with greater barriers to employment, including people who live in more challenging labour markets.

“In addition, the Government will provide more than $300 million over the next 10 years to index payments to DES. This will ensure DES providers can continue to support people with disability looking for work without these costs being eroded by inflation.”

Mrs Prentice said the changes would reward providers who could support jobseekers in securing long-term work, and encourage better relationships between providers and employers for the benefit of people with disability, businesses and the community.

Mrs Prentice urged disability employment providers to continue to provide quality services ahead of the changes from 1 July 2018, and to ensure participants were aware of the changes.

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