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Disabilty Employment Services Discussion Paper Released

Wed, 03 Sep 2008, 01:19 PM

Minister for Employment Participation

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Disability Employment Services Discussion Paper Released

The Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O'Connor, today released a discussion paper as part of the Australian Government's review of Disability Employment Network and the Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

Disability Employment Network (DEN) and Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) offer job seekers specialist rehabilitation services, support and assistance in finding work and where needed, ongoing support in the workplace.

They also offer important services to employers, including help to retain existing employees.

"Work is one of the most significant ways people can participate socially and economically in their communities," Mr O'Connor said.

"People with a disability have much to offer and many have told us they want to work. At the same time employers are seeking skilled labour.

"This review is an opportunity to take a fresh look at DEN and VRS services, to build on their strengths and to identify new ways to improve services for job seekers and employers."

Mr O'Connor said the review would look at how to create more flexible employment services that better link a job seeker with the right service for them while reducing the burden of red tape for providers.

"Not everyone with a disability is the same and the current one-size-fits-all approach isn't effective," he said.

"We want employment services that can adapt to the unique circumstances of job seekers with disabilities, including meeting their education and training needs."

Mr O'Connor said the Rudd Government was strengthening links between employment services and vocational training and had put in place a number of initiatives to boost the skills of Australia's workforce.

Under the Productivity Places Program the Government has committed $1.9 billion over the next five years to provide 630,000 new training places, including 238,000 places for job seekers.

"We want people with disability to have the right skills and the right support to find jobs, especially where this can meet local skill shortages.  This is important for the job seekers, employers and the economy."

"People with disability who want to join a job should be provided with every opportunity and the best possible assistance."

The discussion paper will form the basis for consultation with job seekers, service providers, peak bodies and other interested parties.

The review will also be informed by the review of Universal Employment Services, the review of Job Capacity Assessments and the development of the National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy.

The discussion paper is available at www.workplace.gov.au/workplace/publications/policyreviews. Written submissions close 1 October 2008.

A series of consultation sessions will be held in September. Details about the timing and locations of the consultations can be viewed at the website or by phoning 1800 064 516.

Contact name: Lucy Macali
Contact phone: 03 8676 0353
Contact email:info@acenational.org.au

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