Disability Employment Services discussion paper launched, seeking feedback

2 Nov 2016 - 16:30Photo of two males working, one has a prosthetic arm

This week, Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, and Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, Jane Prentice, launched a discussion paper providing suggested changes to Disability Employment Services (DES).

The Department of Social services is inviting people to provide feedback on the proposed improvements to DES. To view a copy of the discussion paper, visit the DSS Engage website. Submissions are open until the end of the consultation round in December 2016.

DES plays an important role in helping Australians with disability break down the barriers to their participation in the economy, however changes need to be made to help more people enter employment and stay there over the long-term.

The improvements outlined in the discussion paper aim to increase the number of people with disability finding and staying in employment.

The discussion paper outlines changes that aim to:

  • improve choice and control for job seekers
  • drive greater competition and contestability in service delivery
  • create incentives for providers to place all jobseekers in employment
  • better support people with disability in the workplace, and
  • improve the assessment process for DES participants.

The discussion paper is part of the Australian Government’s broader consultations with the disability community on the strengths and weaknesses of the current approach to disability employment.

In 2015, the Australian Government launched the Disability Employment Taskforce to talk with people with disability, disability services providers and employers about supporting more people with disability into employment. The discussion paper brings together feedback from the taskforce and provides specific proposals for reforming DES and improving employment outcomes for people with disability.

The Australian Government will invest over $800 million a year when the new model begins in March 2018 and feedback on the proposals in the discussion paper will help to inform the new model.

Government programs are only part of the story. Perhaps the most important group in achieving employment outcomes for people with disability are employers. The Government is looking to highlight innovative and successful approaches to include people with disability in the workforce, by trialling employer nominated initiatives and improving communications with a wider range of employers on having a diverse workforce that reflects the makeup of the wider community.

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