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Government Urged to Act on Disability Jobs


Monday, 9th September 2013 at 10:50 am
Staff Reporter, Journalist
Disability Employment Australia has urged supporters to pressure the new government to adopt its recommendations boosting mainstream job prospects for people with disabilities.

Monday, 9th September 2013
at 10:50 am
Staff Reporter, Journalist


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Government Urged to Act on Disability Jobs
Monday, 9th September 2013 at 10:50 am

Disability Employment Australia has urged supporters to pressure the new government to adopt its recommendations boosting mainstream job prospects for people with disabilities.

The recently released recommendations, focused on increased opportunities for open employment, spotlight the first 100 days of government as a critical period to raise awareness of the issue.

The advocacy group said that while 20,000 people, mostly with intellectual disability, work in sheltered settings at Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs), evidence showed a higher quality of life for those working in open employment.

The organisation advocates supported open employment such as that provided through Disability Employment Services (DES). The recommendations covered transition from sheltered employment opportunities to increased DES-based opportunities.

Other suggestions included the setting of a national target to include 200,000 more people with disability in the labour force by 2023 and investment in a nationwide attitude-setting campaign.

Disability Employment Australia said people with disability were “unfairly excluded from employment in Australia”, highlighting the gap in labour force participation between the disabled (53 per cent) and the non-disabled (83 per cent).  

It also drew on figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing that people with disability represent 15 per cent of the working age population, but hold only 10 per cent of the jobs.

“Australia must raise its expectations of what people with disability can achieve,” the organisation said.

“Real work is a critical element to raise the quality of life not just for individuals, but also for Australia.”

Deloitte estimates a $43 billion increase to Gross Domestic Product over a decade if the participation rate of the disabled is increased by one third.

The full list: Disability Employment Australia’s 20 Recommendations for Government

Promote Open Employment First

  1. Open supported employment must be the first option, and attract the bulk of government funding.

  2. DisabilityCare Australia (the NDIS) must ensure people have the aspirations and preparedness to participate in real work, earn real wages and progress their careers.

  3. Accelerate the transition from traditional sheltered businesses (ADEs) to inclusive social firm models.

  4. Provide consumer peaks with ongoing funding to support employment policy advocacy.

Position Disability Employment Services

  1. Retain the specialist mainstream open employment program for people with disability (DES). Index fees to reflect the real cost of service delivery.

  2. Extend DMS contracts in line with ESS to 2018. Merge the two DES programs into one with two levels of funding to simplify assessment referrals, contract management and administration.

  3. Explore alternatives to competitive tendering.

  4. Reduce red tape by removing the requirement for DSP recipients to have an assessment before accessing DES.

  5. Enable ADE clients to access DES to facilitate transition to open employment.

  6. Remove the 0 – 7 “unlikely to benefit” rule from the ineligibility criteria for DES services.

  7. Reconsider the 50 per cent market share of the government-owned DES-DMS provider.

  8. Invest in innovation, research and sharing best practice by investigating the implementation of Centres of Excellence by disability types.

  9. Invest in building a skilled and qualified DES workforce for the future.

Support Businesses

  1. Increase place-based, employer-led job creation initiatives.

  2. Continue the Wage Connect Subsidy and the JobAccess Initiative.

  3. Only 3 per cent of employers turn to DES when recruiting. Rebrand the program and remove the disability label: Supported Open Employment.

Act Affirmatively

  1. Attitudes towards disability must change for the better. Invest in a nationwide public attitude setting campaign.

  2. Reinvigorate the National Disability Strategy, and improve its governance framework to ensure states act on commitments.

  3. Set a national target to include 200,000 more people with disability in the labour force by 2023.

  4. Introduce affirmative action policies to create merit-based cadetship and traineeship opportunities for students and graduates with self-identified disability to enter the Australian Public Service.


Staff Reporter  |  Journalist |  @ProBonoNews


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