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Through Disability Employment Services (DES), people with disability, injury or health condition may be able to receive assistance to prepare for, find and keep a job. DES Providers are a mix of large, medium and small for-profit and not-for-profit organisations experienced in supporting people with disability, as well as assisting employers to support employees with disability in the workplace.
DES has taken various forms over the years, with the most recent suite of reforms coming into effect in 2018. These reforms sought to empower DES participants, increase contestability and better align the programs incentives with desired outcomes.
In the 25 October 2022 Commonwealth Budget, the Australian Government announced that it would develop of a new specialist disability employment services model to replace the current DES program from 1 July 2025.
The Australian Government has also announced that the existing DES program will be extended for two years while this detailed reform work is conducted, noting that immediate adjustments will be made to the program to boost the quality of DES services and lift up the whole system to provide better outcomes for people living with disability.
At the centre of this is the development of a new Quality Framework to ensure the views of DES participants are embedded in the ratings system.
This discussion paper is part of a broader consultation process to guide the development of this new framework. It is important at the outset to recognise the broader disability employment policy context.