New initiatives to drive better supported employment outcomes

Dept of Social Services

Australians with disability with high support needs will benefit from a $26 million boost to help build confidence and better facilitate control over their employment options.

The Albanese Labor Government is committed to the 4.4 million Australians with disability, and ensuring anyone who wants a job can experience the benefits of employment.

A total of $14.9 million will be awarded to projects under the first round of the Structural Adjustment Fund to help evolve the supported employment sector, $9.8 million will deliver the Disability Employment Advocacy and Information Program and $1.4 million has been allocated for Disability Employment Expos.

Supported employment is a type of job for people with disability who need substantial ongoing support to obtain or keep employment, and they receive extra support while at work. There are around 16,000 Australians with disability currently partaking in supported employment.

The boost to funding is an important first step the Government has taken ahead of providing a formal response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability related to supported employment.

This funding builds on the work already underway to lift the quality of Disability Employment Services ahead of introducing a reformed employment service for people with disability from 1 July 2025.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth has today visited Ability Works in Kew in Melbourne, who are one of the recipients of the Structural Adjustment Fund grants.

The group is one of 32 organisations to deliver a range of projects that align with the Government’s goal to improve employment opportunities for people with high support needs, and to create more pathways to open employment.

The Structural Adjustment Fund will be used in part to boost training and skills for participants, create and expand pathways to open employment and broaden social enterprise offerings.

Minister Rishworth said the grants represent an important step forward for the supported employment sector and for employment for people with high support needs.

“Since coming to this portfolio, it’s been a focus of mine to help ensure all Australians with disability who want to experience work – and their families and carers – can be empowered to exercise control over their journey,” Minister Rishworth said.

“People with intellectual disability and other high support needs can face particular barriers to employment and these three programs will work together to increase the number and range of employment pathways. They will also support people with disability and their families to better understand and exercise their rights at work”.

Inclusion Australia and the Disability Advocacy Network Australia have been chosen to work in partnership to deliver the Disability Employment Advocacy and Information program to provide advocacy support and information to job seekers with high support needs along with their families and carers.

The ImpactInstitute has been chosen to deliver the Disability Employment Expos pilot, which will allow people with high support needs to learn about person centred employment pathways, and to connect to potential new employers.

Minister Rishworth said it was critical the sector was capable of evolving to meet the diverse and changing needs of people with disability.

“This means ensuring that people with disability with high support needs have genuine opportunities for ongoing employment, and that they are able to exercise choice and control over their work,” Minister Rishworth said.

“We want to create a more inclusive and accepting society – and work is a key part of this”.

The second round of the Structural Adjustment Fund will open in the second half of 2024.

Last month, the Government released a Progress Update on its consideration of the Final Report on the Department of Social Services website.

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