Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Australian Government funds continuous improvement in disability employment services

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today announced Australian Government funding for five innovative projects which will further enhance continuous improvement in the disability employment assistance sector.

Senator Patterson said this funding will allow five small projects to be run by people closely associated with the disability sector, including disability employment service providers, with a view to sharing the results of the projects across the sector and assisting the industry in continual improvement.

“Over $366,000 will be distributed among five organisations to undertake a range of projects which will ultimately mean that people with disabilities get the best employment assistance available,” Senator Patterson said.

“This funding is the second part of $600,000 made available under the Australian Government’s Quality Strategy to enable disability employment services to undertake projects focused on improving the industry.

“These projects range from establishing self-sustaining regional networks among disability employment services to developing a website that highlights the products and services available from each disability employment service.

“While these projects will initially be localised, once they have been completed the knowledge gained from the projects will be of benefit to the whole disability employment service industry.

“The projects should result in improved consumer satisfaction and participation, growth potential for services, more robust management and governance systems, and increased outcomes for people with disabilities.

“All these factors are important contributors to the longer-term success of organisations and increased professionalism within the industry.

“I look forward to seeing the results of these projects, which will be of benefit to the whole disability employment industry.”

This is another example of the Australian Government’s commitment to working closely with the community sector, businesses and individuals to ensure that people with disabilities achieve real gains and get the help they need to participate in work and in the community.

The Australian Government announced a $99 million assistance package in May to ensure that employees with disabilities receive fair pro-rata award-based wages and have better access to quality services and personalised workplace training and support.

Attached is a list of the five successful organisations and their projects.

  • ACE National Network Inc. located in Alphington Victoria – A national strategy to bring together service providers in local networks to focus on enhancing service management and corporate governance approaches. The project would be ‘kicked off’ with a series of national Industry Development Days and then sustained by co-ordinated follow up, targeted resourcing and provision of access to complementary programs.
  • New England Regional Secretariat in Armidale NSW – To produce two standard operations manuals – one for recycling and one for lawn/garden maintenance which will highlight current ‘best practices’ amongst the 10 participating services. This will allow each disability employment service to share ideas that will improve the financial performance and working methods of each organisation.
  • Mawarra Centre Inc – Warragul in Victoria – This project is to have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the like-minded organisations. It is designed to provide the maximum professional support and development for disability employment support service provider organisations in the Gippsland area while retaining each organisation’s individual identity and autonomy.
  • Community Employment Options Inc in Rockhampton Queensland – The purpose of this project is to identify, develop and support consumers who are involved in Boards of Management (and those who are interested in becoming more involved) to positively “champion” the cause in their respective regions. Additionally, it is to stimulate services to be open to this involvement.
  • New England-North West Regional Secretariat located in Moree NSW – To develop and launch a web site for the New England-North West Regional Secretariat. The site will have a public area which will focus on what each employment service has to offer and a marketing campaign will lead people to the web site which will improve business viability. A members area will facilitate sharing of continuous quality improvement ideas, link service and marketing activities, provide a conduit for questions and answers and provide links to other services and programs. Individual service web sites will also be developed.