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Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth with Australian delegates to the UN conference on people with disability, including Olivia Sidhu, a health ambassador with Down Syndrome Australia, who addressed the conference (Amanda Rishworth Facebook)

Australia’s $1.4 billion disability employment services program is in for a shake-up, with Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth flagging major changes as part of her plan to drive down the jobless rate among people with disabilities. Source: Herald-Sun.

In an interview in New York, where she is attending a United Nations conference on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Ms Rishworth said the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s potential would not be fulfilled without greater economic inclusivity.

The 10 per cent unemployment rate for Australians with disabilities has been virtually unchanged for decades, and the Disability Royal Commission found the failure to provide equal opportunities for economic participation and equal access to services cost the economy $27.7bn a year.

Ms Rishworth said it was a “pretty big shock” to learn the star rating system for the Government’s disability employment services program did not even account for the experience of the hundreds of thousands of people it was supposed to help find work.

Royal Commission chair Ronald Sackville said last year the scheme’s participants were “seldom placed in meaningful work”.

Ms Rishworth said the system needed to “improve significantly,” and some taxpayer-funded private providers also needed to “lift their game”.

“The Commonwealth does spend a lot of money on that and we need to make sure we’re getting the best outcomes,” she said.

The Social Services Minister said the Government’s commitment to breaking down employment barriers for Australians with disabilities was a key message she would deliver at this week’s UN conference.


Why Aussie disability job services are being overhauled (By Tom Minear, The Herald-Sun)