National Disability Employment Strategy

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. The government released a consultation paper in April seeking feedback.

Researchers from the CRE-DH responded to the consultation paper on 17 May 2021, and prioritised feedback 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

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 suporting 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.

Download the full submission here.

Read more about the Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health here

More Information

Dr Alex Devine

alexandra.devine@unimelb.edu.au