The Albanese Labor Government will continue its commitment to boosting employment for Australians with disability by increasing funding for Auslan services and building modifications that make workplaces more accessible.
On Auslan Day, Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth will today announce the first changes to be made to the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) caps in 13-years. These changes will provide help to those with disabilities to access additional resources in the course of their work.
The EAF provides financial assistance for work-related modifications, equipment, disability awareness training and Auslan interpreting. Funding caps under the EAF have been in place since 2010, with no increase.
The changes continue Labor’s commitment to breaking down barriers for Australians with disability who want to work.
This investment is aimed at complementing and encouraging the private sector to provide appropriate supports for people with disability and ensure that economic participation for those with disability is not just good for the individual, but also good for the company.
Under the changes, the funding cap for Auslan interpreting services for work-related activities – including remote interpreting, captioning and note taking – will double from $6000 to $12,000 annually.
The building modifications cap will also be doubled from $30,000 to $60,000 to assist in funding lifts, wheelchair accessible toilets, access ramps and automatic doors among other modifications needed to remove barriers and create more jobs for people with disability. Funding caps under the EAF will also be indexed from 1 July 2023.
Further, the Government will scrap the requirement for funding applications to be made ahead of time for Auslan interpreters to be available at job interviews and related activities such as site visits, tests and information sessions. Applications will now be able to be made up to five business days post-interview.
Minister Rishworth said supporting Australians with disability who wanted to work was a key focus of the Albanese Labor Government. As reporting on the economic participation for people with disability begins through Australia’s Disability Strategy, the changes to the Fund are hoped to drive the improved outcomes we need to see.
“The unemployment rate for Australians with disability has not shifted in thirty-years. Our Government is committed to doing everything we can to change that,” Minister Rishworth said.
“With this funding increase, jobseekers can be confident they have the financial assistance to access the Auslan interpreting services they need and that any modifications required to their future workplace are able to be carried out.
“Previously, employers sometimes chose not to proceed with a modification if they couldn’t afford to cover the gap once they hit the $30,000 limit and we want to ensure that barrier is removed.
“No one should miss out on a job interview, test or information session because they could not access Auslan interpreting services or their employer couldn’t afford modifications required.”
There are more than 16,000 Auslan users across the nation and 4.4 million Australians with disability – 2.1 million of whom are of working age.
For more information on the EAF, go to https://www.jobaccess.gov.au