Government releases key report on disability employment services

Amanda Rishworth says the government recognises the pain of forced adoptions will never go away.

Amanda Rishworth says the government recognises the pain of forced adoptions will never go away. Photo: AAP

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth has released a long-awaited report on reforming Australia’s Disability Employment Services system in a bid to boost jobs outcomes for disabled people.

The Department of Social Services is in the process of designing a new model of Disability Employment Services (DES), which seeks to assist disabled people into jobs, before the current program’s end in June 2023.

Disability employment and reducing barriers to employment is set to be a key stream in the government’s September jobs summit, which will bring together more than 100 people from a number of industries to address workforce issues.

The consultation report, which summarises public feedback gathered via a submission process that closed in February 2021, found key issues were reducing jobs barriers, allowing better access to jobs services, and providing more holistic, wrap-around services and complementary supports.

People with disability also needed clearer information on supports available to them as well as greater flexibility in program and service delivery, it found.

Other critical areas included more targeted support for disabled people and employers, streamlining of job programs administration, and workforce skills, according to the report.

Ms Rishworth said her experience as a local MP and as a clinical psychologist made her aware of the issues disabled people faced getting jobs.

“We want to work with people with disability, their families, carers and others to ensure that disability employment policies and programs are well targeted and meet the needs of people with disability,” she said in a statement.

“Hiring someone with disability should not be seen as an optional or charitable act. People with disability bring diverse skills and experiences and make significant contributions to the workplace.

“There is an amazing, skilled workforce that is sadly under-utilised. Hiring a person with disability makes good business sense and is good for the nation.”

Ms Rishworth plans to hold a roundtable later this month with employers, unions and disability groups to discuss jobs barriers before September’s summit.

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