May 31, 2016

Today Labor is announcing our jobs plan for Australians with disability.

Australia has one of the lowest rates of employment for people with disability in the developed world. Australia is currently ranked 21st out of 29 countries in employment rates for people with disability.

Labor believes that people with disability deserve the same opportunities as any other Australian to participate in our economy.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme – designed and delivered by Labor – is giving more individual support to people with disability so they have access to employment opportunities. But the NDIS is just one part of the solution.

As well as delivering the National Disability Insurance Scheme, a Shorten Labor Government will deliver three concrete actions in our first term to boost job opportunities for people with disability.

Labor’s jobs plan for Australians with disability will encourage business and community organisations to employ more Australians living with disability, trial reforms to Disability Employment Services so there is more choice and control, and ensure more people with disability can work in the public service.

Disability Employment Action Plans

Labor will support businesses and not-for-profit organisations to develop their own Disability Employment Action Plans. These Action Plans will allow organisations to:

  • Identify existing barriers to employment for people with disability in their workplace.
  • Improve recruitment policies and procedures so they are more inclusive.
  • Outline specific strategies and targets to boost employment and training opportunities for people with disability within their organisation. 

Businesses will continue to be supported by the Employment Assistance Fund, which helps fund workplace modifications so that people with disability can succeed at work.

Labor will provide $1 million to an independent, national not-for-profit disability organisation so they can promote, advise and coordinate the development and delivery of Disability Employment Actions Plans. The successful organisation will be selected from a competitive tender process.

Trialing new approaches to Disability Employment Services

The last Labor Government delivered big changes to employment support services for people with disability. Since 2010, the number of people with disability receiving employment support has increased by almost 50 per cent and the number of job placements has doubled.

But we know the current system is far from perfect, which is why the next Labor Government will trial further reforms to improve Disability Employment Services. Labor will ensure changes reflect the core NDIS principles of choice and control.

Labor will investigate new approaches that ‘unbundle’ Disability Employment Services funding so that participants have more control over the services they receive. This means jobseekers will be able to control their own funding, and choose different service providers to provide different employment supports, depending on their individual needs.

It will mean greater choice for participants, and encourage more competition and innovation in the sector.

Labor will also invest $5 million to trial a new approach to better integrate Disability Employment Services and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

In selected NDIS locations, people with disability looking for work will be able choose their own employment supports as part of their individual plan. This means they can access a range of employment assistance from different service providers, depending on their individual needs.

The size and scope of these trials will be informed by consultations with service providers, the National Disability Insurance Agency and local communities. 

Public sector employment targets for people with disability

Labor recognises that if we want more businesses and organisations to employ Australians with disability, we must first lead by example.

A Shorten Labor Government will task the Australian Public Service Commission with developing a series of employment targets for people with disability, in partnership with different departments and agencies and in consultation with disability advocates.

The employment targets will be national, department and agency-specific, and will include targets for leadership positions.

Commonwealth departments and agencies will also be expected to develop or update Disability Employment Action Plans to make sure these targets are met.

In this way, Labor will act as we expect others to act – providing opportunities for people with disability to succeed at work.

Labor’s jobs plan for people with disability has been costed by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office.

TUESDAY, 31 MAY 2016

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