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Disability Employment Services Peak Body Welcomes New Commitment To Jobseekers With Disability

Wed, 08 Apr 2009, 01:10 PM

ACE, the national peak body for disability employment services, today welcomes a new policy direction from the Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O'Connor, which is set to dramatically lift workforce participation rates of Australians with disability.

Specialist employment services for people with disability - primarily the Disability Employment Network and Vocational Rehabilitation Services - support over 140,000 people with disability prepare for and / or join the nation's workforce each year.

"In recent years ACE has highlighted the need to reduce barriers within the employment system which blocked access for people with disability. There are over 700,000 Australians in receipt of the Disability Support Pension. In the experience of the 240 plus disability employment services nationally, huge numbers are motivated to enter the labour market, yet have been deterred from doing so in recent years due to long queues for assistance, red tape and inappropriate service models" said Ms Macali.

"Minister O'Connor and Parliamentary Secretary Shorten received hundreds of submissions in the lead up to the development of their National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy - many of these highlighted the very real barriers faced by people with disability in securing and maintaining work", said Ms Macali, a member of the Government's Disability Employment Strategy Advisory Group.

"It is therefore heartening to see the Rudd Government start to address some of these barriers in very practical ways - primarily by ending the waiting game for assistance and ensuring that students with disability make smooth transitions from school to work. Such moves begin to instill confidence in the government's capacity to support some of this country's most highly disadvantaged yet most motivated jobseekers, further demonstrating its commitment to social inclusion" Ms Macali added.

"Other ways to improve outcomes for people with disability and strengthen the nation's economy include supporting career development opportunities and establishing suitable service responses in rural and remote areas", Ms Macali continued.

"The employment rate remains almost 30% lower for people with disability. Specialist disability employment services succeed in maximizing each person's potential to participate in an inclusive society by focusing on ability, not disability. We urge the Rudd Government to ensure the continued success of long-established, high-quality disability employment services in achieving results for individuals, businesses and the nation by providing adequate recognition of the great depth of their experience and know-how in the upcoming tender process." Ms Macali concluded.


Contact name: ACE National Network
Contact phone: 03 8676 0353
Contact email:info@acenational.org.au

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