1.1 Anyone with a verified disability at legal working ages should have access to a DES program. As a service provider, we strongly urge the government to reconsider the following policy introduced from 1 July 2021, job seekers who are not in receipt of an income support allowance (“non-allowees”) are ineligible for DES, and therefore may not be Direct Registered. This policy puts an entry barrier for young people aged 17-24 to access the DES program. Many of these young people still live at home with their parents, therefore are unable to apply for a Centrelink allowance. Neither are they linked with the NDIS, therefore this policy ultimately disqualifies them to access a DES program.
1.2 a future disability support program should continue including casual and part-time employment as paid outcome pathways. Many Australians are employed on casual/ part time basis therefore these employment pathways should remain payable outcomes for the DES program.
2.1 As a DES provider, we are calling for the review of assessment getaway prior to introducing the new DES program. the current ESAt pathway appears to be ineffective and inefficient. many senior participants with complex medical barriers are referred to a DES program without any working capacity, many of them are in the program to wait for their aged pension to kick in.78 week program review appears to be ineffective and redundant. Due to large volume of assessment bookings, 78-week program review no longer serves its intended the purpose to review participant’s program progress and recommend an alternative pathway, instead it has become an admin barrier for provider to continue servicing the individual.
4.1 Supporting young people with disability should be the corner stones of the DES program. early employment intervention provided to young people offers incredible social and economic benefits to the Nation. Despite of the other employment programs such as Transition To Work(TTW) , Eligible school leaver (ESL) program funded in DES remains as the most effective program to help young people to achieve sustainable employment outcomes. It is the only program currently offering ongoing support to young people in employment for a long period of time. there is a service provision in the ongoing support phase to enable providers to source additional employment and up-skilling/ training opportunities for young people with disability. As far as we are aware, TTW’s focus is disadvantaged youth, it does not offer the funding and expertise to help young people with disability to obtain meaningful, long term and sustainable employment pathway. Since July 2018, our DES program has helped and assisted over hundreds of young people with disability to transition from school to employment. with the help of the DES program, many of these young people are able to become valuable members of the local workforce and community. the program has helped young people to break vicious circle of generations of unemployment, reduce the dependence on social welfare. some of our young people in DSP are no longer required the pension payment, instead they work up-to full time hours earning awarded wages. We’d recommend young people with verified disability access the DES program from year 10 onwards to allow the early intervention from DES providers.
8.0 As a DES provider, we’d recommend the government consider retain the current DES program and funding model for another 5 years. inviting providers with holding consistent 3 star performance to continue the current grant agreement. providers operating under the current DES Grant agreement has entered into an unprecedented time with social and economic challenges raised with the pandemic. A level of industry certainty will be appreciated by the providers, job seekers and industry partners. This would also allow the government to review the data and assess the current model in a world of new norms.