The 2015 Federal Budget has provided $25 million over four years to start to shape Disability Employment toward a new model in 2018 in which it expects 22,000 people with disability to be employment-ready.

The package includes $9 million over three years to create the JobAccess Gateway for people with disability and employers. The Federal Budget said the JobAccess Gateway will be a new online service centre for people with disability and employers, complemented by a range of in-work supports to help people with disability to develop appropriate skills and lead them to finding and keeping a job.

The Gateway will streamline services and programs and create a virtual disability employment marketplace through a new digital and client relationship service centre.

Other measures in the 2015 Budget to support disability employment include:

  • $2.2 million investment from 1 July 2015 over four years to allow young people with disability to receive up to six months of Disability Employment Services (DES) support while participating concurrently in state and territory post-school employment or transition to work programmes, giving them the extra support they need to get into the workforce.
  • $14 million from 1 January 2016 over four years to allow eligible people with disability employed in ADEs to access the support of a DES provider for up to two years to help them secure employment in the open labour market, while maintaining their ADE employment. Currently, people with disability must resign from their ADE to receive assistance from a DES provider.
  • The introduction of a new employment benchmark that will ensure DES participants who have been assessed as having the capacity to work between 23 and 29 hours per week are supported to do so. Currently, DES providers only need to find a job for 15 hours per week to receive an outcome fee for people with a 23 hour benchmark.

Federal Minister for Social Services Scott Morrison said the 2015 Budget continues the Government’s strong record of supporting employment opportunities for people with disability.

“The Government is investing $17 million for business development initiatives to improve the sustainability of Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs),\” Morrison said. \”The initiatives will be delivered from 1 July 2015 until June 2019 to ensure ADEs are ready for the full roll-out of the NDIS in 2019. The funding will allow ADEs to access professional services to help them build organisational capacity to meet anticipated increased wage costs over time.\”

With thanks to ProBono Australia for the content of this article

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