Media Release by The Hon Sarah Henderson MP

World Down Syndrome Day

On 21 March, people all around the world celebrate the lives and achievements of people with Down syndrome, advocating for their rights, inclusion and wellbeing.

Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services, Sarah Henderson today welcomed celebrations of World Down Syndrome Day, a global awareness day officially observed by the United Nations since 2012.

In Australia alone, there are over 13,000 people with Down syndrome, with over 8,400 people with Down syndrome receiving support through the NDIS at 31 December 2018.

Last month, the Australian Government announced $300,000 in funding for Impact21, an innovative new pilot program to help young adults with Down syndrome gain employment.

Ms Henderson said she was pleased to commit the funding to the Impact21 pilot program which is delivered by Melbourne‑based company e.motion21.

“Support for this kind of program is in keeping with the Australian Government’s broader package of services and initiatives to help people with disability find and keep a job, from Disability Employment Services to the newly established NDIS Participant Employment Taskforce,” Ms Henderson said.

“Programs like this provide more opportunities for people with disability to participate in work. The Impact21 program will improve education and employment outcomes and self‑esteem for young people with Down syndrome, helping them to gain employment in meaningful, sustainable jobs.”

The Assistant Minister today met with local Geelong resident, Sarah Keating, who is currently participating in the Impact21 program.

“It was fantastic talking to Sarah and her family today, to hear from someone who is actively participating in the program and benefiting from being a part of it,” Ms Henderson said.

“I am really excited to be working with Impact21 and exploring my career path,” Ms Keating said.

Ms Keating travels to Melbourne on the train to participate three days a week in the Impact21 Pilot Program at a university location. She also volunteers at a local child care centre to gain work experience and works 8 hours as a casual employee in a local Café.

Ms Keating is one of twelve participants involved in the Impact 21 Pilot, an intensive work readiness program, supported by national employers which are focused on developing the work readiness of Pilot participants.

“I congratulate Sarah on her enthusiasm and commitment to the Impact21 program. I am looking forward to hearing about Sarah’s career progression in coming years,” Ms Henderson said.