Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Government Releases National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator The Hon Mark Arbib, Minister for Employment Participation

The Minister for Employment Participation, Senator Mark Arbib, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten, today announced the release of the Australian Government’s National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy.The Strategy sets out a number of priority actions to get Australians with disability and mental illness, into work.

The Strategy includes the Rudd Government’s investment of $1.2 billion in new employment services for people with disability.

Senator Arbib said, that from March 1, 2010, this would provide more personalised services for job seekers and support to employers of people with disability.

‘For the first time, services will be demand driven,’ Senator Arbib said.

‘This means all job seekers with disability will have immediate access to assistance from an employment service helping them to gain skills and employment.’

The Strategy also includes a $6.8 million Disability Support Pension (DSP) Employment Incentive Pilot which will trial a new way of encouraging employers to offer employment to people with disability and allow DSP recipients to demonstrate their skills.

Mr Shorten said that employers would be supported through wage subsidies of up to $3000 after the job seeker has remained in work for 26 weeks. Normal income taper rates will apply to DSP recipients who participate in the pilot.

‘I know that many businesses want to do more to employ people with disability. This is why the Government is supporting this pilot which is expected to provide job opportunities for 1000 Australians who receive the DSP,’ Mr Shorten said.

‘Providing fulfilling work and economic independence for people with disability was a key to improving their inclusion in the community.

‘There is no doubt that people with disability want to work, and can make a big contribution to businesses.

‘We need to ensure that we remove the barriers and negative attitudes facing people with disability who want to work, and recognise their potential rather than their impairments.’

The Australian Government will continue to work with stakeholders including consumers, peak bodies, employers, state and territory governments and experts to increase education and employment opportunities for people with disability and make services work better for them.

Copies of the Strategy paper, including alternate formats, can be ordered by calling 1300 363 079 (TTY 1800 554 609), or emailing employmentstrategy (

The report is available in electronic form at Workplace website (