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Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Great response to the National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP, Minister for Employment Participation

The Government has received more than 300 submissions into a strategy to boost the number of people with a disability and/or mental illness in the workforce.

The Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O’Connor and , Bill Shorten, are developing the National Mental Health and Disability Employment strategy.

Submissions to the strategy, which will outline clear and practical steps the Government can put in place to overcome the barriers which make it harder for people with disability and mental illness to gain and keep work, closed this week.

As well as receiving written submissions, Mr O’Connor and Mr Shorten have chaired public consultations in 13 towns and cities across Australia with more than 740 people attending.

“Both the written submissions and the public consultations sessions have identified positive and practical ways to help address barriers to gaining and retaining employment, so that we can get more people with a disability and/or mental illness to active in our workforce,” Mr O’Connor said.

“There was a clear recognition of the enormous contribution people with disability and/or mental illness make to a workplace and we need to dispel the myths that some employers have about difficulties or costs associated with employing a person with a disability.”

Mr Shorten said the strategy will provide a national approach to helping more people with a disability or mental illness get and keep a job.

“It’s plain from both the consultations and submissions that a great number of people around the country have given this issue a huge amount of thought, and their views will be valuable in informing this strategy,” Mr Shorten said.

Other points highlighted during the consultations included:

  • better support for education and training of people with disability and/or mental illness;
  • greater engagement with employers, explaining the benefits of employing people with disability and/or mental illness; and,
  • improving coordination of services across local, state and federal governments.

Internationally, Australia has low levels of employment participation for people with a disability and/or mental illness.

The National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy is due to be released by the end of the year. The discussion paper is available at National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy website