Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Increased support for jobseekers with a disability

The Australian Government will increase assistance for people who have a disability to participate in community life and paid work, the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, announced today.

Senator Patterson said that the Government will fund disability employment assistance for some 16 350 new eligible jobseekers over three years.

“More than $102 million has been committed by the Australian Government to fund these measures,” Senator Patterson said.

“Around 1000 new Disability Employment Assistance places will be released during March 2004 to eligible service providers, particularly those in areas identified as being of high need.

“This is in addition to the 7000 places already created since September 2000.

“Assistance will be targeted to those areas where the demand for assistance by people with a disability, who are potential jobseekers, is the greatest.

“This is one element of the Government’s broader agenda to give all Australians the opportunity and support to participate in the workforce.

“Capacity to assist job seekers who have a disability will also be increased with the funding of ten new service providers in identified areas of need.

“In addition another 2000 Disability Employment Assistance places will be created through the conversion of the one-off places created as part of the Case Based Funding trials into recurrent places.

“This will mean that, for the first time, as a job seeker leaves a place funded as part of the Case Based Funding trials a new job seeker can take their place.

“These measures will provide increased assistance and improved opportunities for people with disabilities in rural and remote areas and areas of high need.

“This Government continues to focus on what people with disabilities can contribute to the community, not on their disabilities.

“These additional places announced today are all a part of the Australians Working Together package.

Australians Working Together aims to tackle these problems by offering a balanced package of incentives, obligations and assistance to help Australians take charge of their own future, while still supporting those in greatest need.”