The University of Melbourne
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Submission to the Department of Social Services on the National Disability Employment Strategy Consultation Paper

Version 2 2021-05-25, 00:56
Version 1 2021-05-17, 03:20
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posted on 2021-05-25, 00:56 authored by Alexandra DevineAlexandra Devine, Nicola Fortune, Jennifer Smith, Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Zoe AitkenZoe Aitken, Roger Stancliffe, ANNE KAVANAGHANNE KAVANAGH

The Australian Government is currently developing a ten-year National Disability Employment Strategy - a key element to address the National Disability Strategy commitment to increase employment and economic inclusion for people with disability. In April, the Department of Social Services released a consultation paper seeking feedback on its priority areas.

Researchers from the CRE-DH made a submission on the draft National Disability Employment Strategy to the Department of Social Services on 17 May 2021.

A summary of the submission follows:

The feedback is prioritised based on the following:

  • the proposed vision of the National Disability Employment Strategy (NDES);

  • the barriers experienced by people with disability that are missing from the consultation or require greater emphasis in terms of how they will be addressed within the NDES; and

  • monitoring and evaluation of the NDES.

The focus of the submission is across three areas:

The National Disability Employment Strategy should be positioned as a whole-of-government responsibility.

Improving employment outcomes for people with disability requires policies and programs that address the vocational, non-vocational and structural barriers to secure and meaningful employment that are too often encountered by people with disability across the life course.

While the National Disability Employment Strategy (NDES) is being driven through the Department of Social Services (DSS), implementation requires commitment to strong action, clear targets and accountability across all Australian and state and territory government departments and relevant agencies to address multi-faceted barriers to work.

We need to improve the evidence base on what interventions work and for whom, and under what circumstances these interventions work.

An accurate understanding of the availability and effectiveness of the plethora of employment policies and programs implemented across federal, state and territory jurisdictions, is currently missing from the draft NDES.

Also missing is a clear understanding of how different employment policies and programs could better interact and collaborate with other systems (e.g., mental health, housing) to more effectively address inequalities and barriers to employment experienced by people with disability.

The NDES must commit to address these gaps in understanding, and to enhancing the evidence base about which policies, programs and interventions are most efficient and effective in supporting the diverse cohort of people with disability wanting to find work and remain employed.

Ongoing monitoring, evaluation and reporting of outcomes achieved through the NDES is vital for continual improvement

Monitoring the NDES implementation and outcomes is essential. This requires monitoring employment outcomes and also barriers and facilitators to the career development and employment for people with disability across the life course, and accessing employment.

The CRE-DH has developed an extensive research program around disability and employment. Please refer to the website for more information, reports and submissions on this area of work.

Further information


National Health and Medical Research Council, Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health