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Future focussed budget... we can work with that - 13 May 2015

Disability Employment Australia, 13 May 2015

Disability Employment Australia is greatly encouraged by last night’s Commonwealth Government 2015 Budget. The measures central to Disability Employment Services (DES) will improve the programs as well as reinforce the collegial relationship established between Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield and the DES sector. These initiatives respond to jobseekers with disability, young adults transitioning from school to the world of work, to ADE employees looking to find work in the open employment market, to employers and to DES providers.

Rick Kane, the DEA CEO, summed it up when he said, “There are things in this Budget that DEA, the pre-eminent Disability Employment Services Peak Body, and its members have been trying to get different governments to respond to for years. The Minister has listened to our views, weighed them up and made some forward thinking decisions”.

Job Access, a significant part of how DES operates, will be given a boost and its focus will now be as a gateway for employers and people with disability. Transition pathways between school and employment should become smoother. People in ADEs can more easily access DES to assist them into open employment. These are all positive initiatives. These are policy ideas that DEA has pushed in consultations and submissions and reviews to government.

There are other initiatives of interest in the Budget including the two specialised models of employment support to be trialled nationally with a focus on improving employment outcomes for young people with mental illness. DEA is also interested in the ‘Investment approach’ to Australia’s social security system the Budget announced. We welcome the steady approach, through a research period to investigate how actuarial principles, similar to the NZ model as presented in the McClure Report, might apply in the Australian setting.

NDIS has been reinforced with funding to build the information and communication technology (ICT) system in anticipation of supporting about 460,000 people by 2019-20. We also note, with interest the responsibility for the Sector Development Fund will transfer to the Department of Social Services. Finally, there are plans to hold an annual National Disability Minister Forum with stakeholders to discuss the implementation of the National Disability Strategy.

There are challenges ahead and there are some concerns but on the whole the Budget has produced many positive initiatives. It is future focussed and pragmatic. We can work with that.

Interviews available via Disability Employment Australia CEO, Rick Kane on 03 9012 6000 or 0425 752 321.

Media queries contact Rick Kane on 03 9012 6000 or 0418 285 192, rick.kane@disabilityemployment.org.au