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Improving the quality of employment services for persons with disabilities

- Young woman in wheelchair and her colleague discussing online data by desk in office

Around 15,500 people living with disability will have access to better quality employment services and a greater chance of finding a long-term job following a performance assessment of the Disability Employment Services program.

The Albanese Labor Government has taken action and around six per cent of DES services will be discontinued for poor quality and a lack of achieving outcomes.

A total of 52 providers will be impacted with eight providers having all services completely discontinued.

The providers operate in each state and territory and 15,550 people living with disability will be transitioned to higher performing services close to where they live – giving them the best opportunity to obtain sustainable and meaningful work. This represents around five per cent of current DES participants.

The decision comes ahead of Monday’s Disability Employment Roundtable to be hosted by Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth in Canberra and the Government’s September Jobs and Skills Summit where barriers to employment for people living with disability and others will be discussed.

Minister Rishworth said the assessment ensures only the most effective DES providers continue to receive Commonwealth funding and have the opportunity to support participants to find and keep a job.

“People living with disability deserve the best possible service in helping to find employment. Poorly performing DES providers were given every opportunity to put measures in place to improve and were aware of the formal review process,” Minister Rishworth said.

“It is vital that funding is directed to organisations who have proven they are delivering the best support to participants.

“There is a need to refocus efforts to improve the quality of providers, particularly following concerns highlighted by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.”

The review was initiated following evidence to the Royal Commission. The Commission was told some DES providers were not achieving long-term outcomes, with some job placements ending abruptly or only lasting for the duration of government subsidies.

To support participants through the transition to a new provider and ensure as little disruption as possible, mutual obligations for those 15,500 impacted will be suspended from 22 August to 23 October 2022.

Almost 2.1 million people living with disability are of working age in Australia. However 93 per cent of unemployed people aged 15-64 with disability experience difficulties in finding employment.

The unemployment rate for people living with disability is more than double that of working age Australians.

“We are taking action to ensure people living with disability and who want to work get every opportunity to do so in a meaningful way,” Minister Rishworth said.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity and dignity of work, including people living with disability.”

Impacted providers will begin being contacted by the Department of Social Services from today.

DES participants who need to transition to new providers will be provided support to do so and will be contacted by the Department. The transition to new providers is expected to be completed by the end of October 2022.

For more information, go to the Job Access website.

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