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New CEO appointed to lead disability employment peak body - 12 May 2014

Craig HarrisonDisability Employment Australia, 12 May 2014

The Board of Disability Employment Australia has appointed Mr Craig Harrison as Chief Executive Officer at Disability Employment Australia.

Mr Harrison brings to Disability Employment Australia over twenty years of experience in supported open employment. The sector will benefit immensely from his breadth and depth of knowledge, his experience and the existing networks he brings to the organisation.

His conviction of the primacy of open employment as a central tenet of a civil society makes him an excellent match with the values of the peak industry body for Disability Employment Services. He is committed to increasing Australia’s workforce participation rates for people with disability through person centred approaches and improving employer engagement.

Mr Harrison has worked across Australia in a variety of roles in the social justice space, particularly within the disability employment sector.

In the early 90s he began working in the disability employment sector in Northern NSW, initially as a support worker and then as service manager. During this time, Craig was central to the development and resourcing of six open employment services through the provision of training to build management and administration systems as well as support approaches to ensure successful service delivery.

Mr Harrison joined Adelaide’s Personnel Employment in the late 90s, where he worked for 17 years. As the Executive Manager, Craig established a Registered Training Organisation and developed the school to work transition program, a best practice model, still operating in Adelaide today.

Mr Harrison spent five years as an Executive member on the Australian Disability Training Advisory Council, and has since served on a number of boards in the disability employment sector.

Mr Harrison was inducted into Disability Employment Australia’s Hall of Fame in 2010.

The Disability Employment Australia Board welcomes Mr Craig Harrison to the Disability Employment Australia team, and looks forward to his leadership of DEA, disability employment’s pre-eminent peak body.

Interviews available via Disability Employment Australia Chairperson, Rick Kane.


Media queries contact Heather Wilson on 03 9012 6000 or 0418 285 192, heather.wilson@disabilityemployment.org.au


About Disability Employment Australia: Disability Employment Australia is the ‘go to’ peak body for disability employment in Australia. Disability Employment Australia represents Australia’s Disability Employment Services (DES) to government and the broader community – nationally and internationally. There are 203 DES organisations with almost 2700 sites across Australia. DES providers are both private and not-for-profit organisations.

One in five Australians of working age have a disability, but only 53% participate in the workforce compared with 81% for people without a disability. Australia’s DES currently assist approximately 140,000 individuals with disability to gain and maintain meaningful employment in the open labour market.