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National Inquiry into Employment and Disability: Issues Paper 5

Issues Paper 5: Mapping of Commonwealth Government Services -

Stage One of the Information Gathering Exercise

This document can also be downloaded in Word format

From the outset of this Inquiry, it was apparent that there was a need for clearer information on the services offered by the Commonwealth regarding employment of people with disabilities.

On 15 March 2005, the Inquiry met with the following Commonwealth agencies, to ask for their assistance in developing a map of the relevant services:

  • Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR)
  • Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS)
  • Department of Human Services (DHS)
  • Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST)
  • Centrelink
  • Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service (CRS)
  • Office of the Australian Public Service Commissioner (APSC)
  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PMC)
  • Department of the Attorney-General (A-G)

The participants at the meeting agreed to cooperate with the Inquiry to achieve this goal.

Participants noted that there were likely to be some changes to services in the welfare reform package to be announced in the Federal Budget on 10 May 2005. There have indeed been some proposed changes, however most of those changes will commence only in July 2006. Participants also emphasised that various agencies were developing new programs all the time.

Keeping these factors in mind, the Inquiry proceeded with the first stage of this mapping exercise by sending a set of 15 questions to each agency on 1 April 2005, so as to provide a starting platform for further development. The purpose of those questions was to identify:

         the primary programs delivered by each agency

         the main features of those programs

         the eligibility criteria for those programs

         the resources devoted to those programs

         the interaction between the different agencies.

The agencies that provided specific responses to the questions are APSC, Centrelink, CRS, DEST and DEWR. Their responses are collated in the table attached to this Issues Paper.

DHS (sub 96), DEST (sub 103A), FaCS (sub 110) and DEWR (sub 124) provided submissions that deal more generally with their services. They can be found on the Inquiry website at: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/employment_inquiry/subs1/index.htm.

Your feedback

The Inquiry intends to issue an interim report and recommendations by the end of July 2005. The Inquiry will be focussing on the implementation of those recommendations in the second half of 2005.

After reviewing the submissions to the Inquiry so far, it is clear that one of the interim recommendations will relate to the information that should be made available to people with disabilities, employers and employment services. A fundamental aspect of the information needs concern the government services available to those parties.

The Inquiry is therefore eager to receive feedback on this initial stage of information gathering. For example:

1.      What additional information should be sought from the Commonwealth agencies mentioned above?

2.      What other government agencies should be consulted?

3.      What specific suggestions do you have in relation to the information most relevant to:

(a)   people with disabilities who are seeking a job

(b)   people with disabilities who are concerned about job retention

(c)   employers seeking to build a more diverse workforce

(d)   employers seeking to support and retain employees with a disability?

4.      In what format would this information be most useful (eg table, flow chart, web-links etc)?

How do you make a suggestion?

Your suggestions should be sent by 24 June 2005 to be included in the interim report.

You can email your suggestion to: employmentinquiry@humanrights.gov.au

Suggestions may also be sent in hard copy to:

Employment Inquiry
Disability Rights Unit
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
GPO

Box 5218

Sydney NSW 2001

Questions can be directed to:

Cristina Ricci
Policy Officer
Disability Rights Unit
Phone: 02 9284 9767

Further information about the Inquiry can be found at: www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/employment_inquiry/index.htm


TABLE OF COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT SERVICES

STAGE 1 OF THE INFORMATION GATHERING EXERCISE

Question / Agency Response

Centrelink

CRS

DEST

APSC

DEWR

1. What programs in your Department might assist people with disability to obtain a job in the open workplace?

Centrelink delivers a range of products and services to customers to assist them enter the workforce.

The payments delivered are:

Disability Support Pension

Sickness Allowance

Newstart Allowance

Youth Allowance

Mobility Allowance

Pensioner Education Supplement

Services available are:

Centrelink Disability Officers

Centrelink Psychologists

Centrelink Personal Advisors

Centrelink Social Workers

Referrals to Job Network

Referrals to Disability Open Employment Services

Referrals to Disability Business Services

Referrals to Vocational Rehabilitation

Referrals to the Personal Support Program

CRS Australia provides Australian Government funded vocational rehabilitation programs for people aged between 14 and 65 who

          have an injury, disability or health condition which makes it hard to gain employment or return to work

          are an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

These programs are tailored to meet each person's individual needs and the requirements of each workplace. Specific services may include:

          assessment of the person's abilities and their vocational, physical or psychological needs;

          disability management strategies;

          advice and counselling on employment options;

          development of a persons' work related skills and abilities;

          increasing participant motivation through professional motivational techniques;

          on-the-job assessment, workplace training and job search training programs;

          assistance with job redesign, alternative duties or workplace modifications; and

          a client supported in the workplace for up to three months.

          career planning sessions (funded by Department of Education, Science and Training - DEST).

Disability Coordination Officer (DCO)/Regional Disability Liaison Officer (RDLO) programmes - The DCO/RDLO programmes provide a national network of 32 officers to provide information, co-ordination and referral services for people with a disability interested in post-school education and training and employment options.

Assistance for New Apprentices with a disability - There are three types of assistance for employers of apprentices and/or trainees with a disability -

          Disabled New Apprentice Wage Support (DNAWS) - An employer of a New Apprentice with a disability who satisfies the eligibility criteria and is undertaking a qualification at the Certificate II-IV level, is entitled to receive DNAWS at the rate of $114.73 a week. If the New Apprenticeship is part-time, the rate is pro-rated according to hours worked.

          Assistance for tutorial, interpreter and mentor services - This is payable to the employer's Registered Training Organisation. For tutorial mentor /interpreter services for the New Apprentice, $38.50 an hour, up to a maximum of $5,500 a year is paid in respect of a New Apprentice with a disability who is experiencing difficulty with the off-the-job training component of their New Apprenticeship.

          Workplace modifications - Assistance to a maximum amount of $5,000 for each eligible New Apprentice with a disability may be provided to employers to assist them with workplace modifications, including the lease, purchase or hire of equipment, to help the New Apprentice in their work.

New Apprenticeship Access Programme (NAAP) - NAAP helps job seekers improve their chances of getting a New Apprenticeship. It also helps them to get into employment, or further education and training. NAAP participants receive pre-vocational training, job search and assistance and appropriate general support to enhance their changes of obtaining a New Apprenticeship.

Group Training New Apprenticeships Targeted Initiatives Programme (TIP) - Under the Group Training New Apprenticeships Targeted Initiatives Programme, Group Training Australia manages a project aimed at increasing the uptake of New Apprentices with a disability, by building partnerships between Group Training Organisations and Disability Employment Assistance Services providers. Under the project, approximately eighty (80) New Apprentices with a disability have been recruited and supported.

Vocational Education and Training (VET) Priority Places Programme (VETPPP) - VETPPP aims to increase vocational education and training (VET) opportunities and improve outcomes for groups such as people with a disability who are in receipt of low income. The Programme aims to assist people with a disability (and others from the identified priority target groups) obtain a nationally recognised qualification at Certificate II or higher under the Australian Qualifications Framework so that they can participate more effectively in the labour market.

Australians Working Together (AWT) - funding for people with a disability - The Australian Government provided additional funding as part of the Australians Working Together Package announced in the 2001-2002 Budget ($24.4 million over four years) to contribute to State and Territory efforts to assist people with a disability enter and complete VET. The funding has been allocated to State and Territory training authorities on a working age population share basis through ANTA to provide additional training places, and associated learning supports for people with a disability. State and Territory training authorities distribute the funds to registered training providers and for initiatives for people with a disability in VET. (Under the national VET arrangements, State and Territory training authorities are responsible for their own training systems, including delivery of training (including to people with a disability) and allocation of funds to individual training providers.)

Jobs Pathway Programme (JPP) - JPP aims to assist young people aged 13 to 19 to make a smooth transition through school and from school to further education, training or employment by providing advice and assistance targeted at their individual needs. Currently JPP services are delivered to around 1,700 schools across to up to 66,000 young people per annum.

Partnership Outreach Education Model (POEM) pilot programme - POEMs provide a full-time education and personal development programme (life skills and employability skills) targeting young people aged 13 to 19 who are disconnected from mainstream schooling. This element is conducted in settings conducive to learning and youth support such as youth centres and training facilities.

Transitions project - Development of resources to assist the implementation of VET in Schools for students with disabilities: DEST has provided funding to Youth Connections Inc (a NSW Central Coast Local Community Partnership (LCP) and JPP broker) to develop support strategies and new resources for LCP brokers to work better with employers to assist students with disabilities while they are on their structured workplace learning placement for their VET qualification.  The resources will be available in July/August 2005.  These resources will be distributed through the Australian Government funded LCPs.

Under the APS Commission Certified Agreement, employees whose disability meets the impairment criteria for the DSP may be paid a supported salary under the Commonwealth Supported Wage System (Appendix 4 of the CA). In addition, the Commission's Workplace Diversity Plan and Disability Action Plan emphasise the importance of the APS Values and Code of Conduct in employment decisions, and specifically require decisions and processes to be accessible and non-discriminatory.

DEWR programmes that assist people with a disability obtain a job in the open workplace include:

          Job Network

          Disability Open Employment Services

          Vocational Rehabilitation

          Personal Support Programme

          Jobs Placement Employment and Training

          Employer Incentives Strategy

2. Which of these programs are specifically directed to people with disabilities?

Of the services listed below the following are directed to people with a disability.

The payments delivered are:

Disability Support Pension

Sickness Allowance

Mobility Allowance

Services available are:

Centrelink Disability Officers

Centrelink Psychologists

Referrals to Disability Open Employment Services

Referrals to Disability Business Services

Referrals to Vocational Rehabilitation

All CRS Australia rehabilitation programs are directed towards people with disabilities, as they are provided under the Disability Services Act (DSA)1986, which requires clients to meet eligibility criteria including having a disability.

DCO Programme, RDLO Initiative, Assistance for New Apprentices with a disability, and AWT funding for people with a disability.

While assistance under the Jobs Pathway Programme assistance is generally available to all young people who are eligible, providers are required to specifically target their assistance to young people in target groups. One of the target groups is young people with a disability which can include psychological, intellectual, sensory, physical or learning impairment.

Participation in the Supported Wage System is specifically designed to support employees with a disability

Disability Open Employment Services

Disability open employment services assist job seekers with disabilities who have significant and/or ongoing support needs, by providing training, job placement and on-the-job support.

Nationally there are 229 organisations providing open employment services from 326 outlets. Under the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) categorisation of location, about 70% of outlets are highly accessible, about 25% are accessible or moderately accessible and about 5% are remote or very remote.

A new case based funding model will be introduced from 1 July 2005. The changes are designed to improve employment outcomes for job seekers and to ensure that people with a disability receive services that best meet their needs. Case based funding is a fee-for-service funding model. The fees are based on job seekers' support needs and their employment outcomes and include additional fees for providing more support to job seekers at risk of not reaching an employment outcome, such as people with a psychiatric disability.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational rehabilitation services are provided to Australians of working age who have a disability, injury or health condition. Vocational rehabilitation programmes are tailored to individual needs and can include vocational assessment and counselling, job preparation, placement and training, injury management and workplace modifications.

CRS Australia currently provides vocational rehabilitation services through 176 outlets across , and assists over 40,000 job seekers with disabilities annually to gain or retain employment.

Service quality

Disability open employment and vocational rehabilitation services are required to meet Disability Services Standards set out under the Disability Services Act 1986. These standards include the requirement to provide a service that meets the individual needs of each person with a disability. All services are independently audited by a certifying body to ensure that they meet the Disability Services Standards. Services that do not meet these standards cannot be funded.

Job Network

Refer to section 4 for details of this programme. In addition, there are 11 Job Network members that provide services exclusively for people with disabilities or mental health condition or illness operating out of 28 sites.

Employer Incentives Strategy

See below for details on this programme.

3. Which of these programs are specifically directed towards assisting employers to recruit, hire and/or retain people with disabilities?

Nil

Vocational rehabilitation is provided in partnership with the jobseeker, employers and the broader community. As part of each program, we work with employers and their other workers to enable people with disabilities to be accommodated within workplaces. This process typically addressed a broad range of topics including disability awareness, reasonable accommodation, injury prevention and risk management.

Strategies employed within CRS Australia vocational rehabilitation programs aimed at assisting employers to recruit, hire/or retain people with disabilities include:

Work Training Placements

A component of vocational rehabilitation programs, work training placement, is a key employment strategy in bridging the rehabilitation program and employment for many CRS Australia clients. In 2003-04, work training placements were used for 6242 CRS Australia clients. Such a placement enables clients to develop work skills, and to adjust or readjust to the demands of employment after a period of recovery as well as assisting integration into the workforce. Work training also helps clients explore and clarify their vocational goals within a safe work environment.

It involves an arrangement to place a client into a work environment for a specified period. The arrangement is negotiated between the employer, the client and CRS Australia. During the work training, an employer provides instruction and work experience for the client.  CRS Australia provides workers compensation insurance coverage for clients on work trainings and pays the client a small allowance as a contribution to out of pocket expenses.

Client Equipment & Modifications

Provision of client aids and equipment may often be a crucial part of a CRS Australia rehabilitation program. The DSA (1986) stipulates that expenditure within a rehabilitation program should be limited to goods and services that cannot be accessed from other funded services or from the community, necessary to meet the client's goal of a return to employment or living independently.

Work aids or equipment may include, but are not limited to:

          ergonomic chairs for use at a workbench, desk or counter;

          modification to tools, equipment or machinery, for example, changing from hand controls to foot operation, special grips on levers, additional safety guards;

          shortened or split keyboards, alternative mouse options and adjustable desks;

          aids for people with impaired vision; and

          hearing aids.

Home, workplace or vehicle modifications may also be required as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program. In the case of workplace modifications, a workplace assessment should be conducted prior to deciding that modifications are necessary, in order to establish that other interventions will not be successful in increasing the client's ability to obtain or maintain employment. 

DEWR Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) reimburses funding to CRS Australia (and all DEWR disability employment providers) for the wage subsidy scheme. Reimbursements are limited to $1500 per wage subsidy. This is an incentive payment to employers, however is only used in limited circumstances. In 2003-04, 305 wage subsidies were provided through CRS Australia.

Employment assistance to Employers

CRS Australia offers free recruitment services for employers to achieve successful placements by:

          using professional expertise to match clients' abilities with employer requirements;

          providing workers capable of carrying out performance requirements;

          providing the unique 'Work Training' opportunity which allows employers to gain first hand experience of clients (see work training placement information above);

          providing Workers Compensation coverage while clients are on work training; and

          supporting employers and successful applicants in the new role.

These services are provided at no cost to the employer.

Job in Jeopardy

When a person's employment is in jeopardy due to their disability or health condition, they may be eligible to receive assistance from CRS Australia to keep them in the same job.

Other services

CRS Australia also collaborates with other Government and privately funded programs to assist clients who are undertaking vocational rehabilitation programs. For example:

          New Apprenticeship Access Programme (NAAP), Disabled New Apprentice Wage Support (DNAWS) - assistance for Tutorial, Interpreter and Mentor Services. Schemes aimed at encouraging employers to train people with disabilities.

          Disability Recruitment Coordinator - assists large employers looking to hire people with disabilities.

          DEST funded Disability Coordination Officers -provides information, coordination and referral services for people with a disability interested in or enrolled in post-school education and training.'

          DEST funded Career Planning - CRS Australia coordinates and delivers this program nationally to unemployed people referred by Centrelink including 1108 people with disabilities participating in CRS Australia vocational rehabilitation programs during 2003-4. Overall 11,183 clients funded by DEST were provided with career planning sessions. This program was offered in 163 sites.

CRS Australia has developed a number of ongoing programs with other government agencies and the private sector, with varying degrees of success. These programs require ongoing relationship development and education of stakeholders.

          School leaver program:
Post
School Options

          Partnerships within the labour market industry

          Telstra Partnership Training Program

CRS Australia also undertakes a range of occupational rehabilitation and injury prevention services for agencies. The large proportion of this work is in the Work Cover market.

DNAWS, Group Training New Apprenticeships TIP specific project

Participation in the Supported Wage System is specifically designed to facilitate the employment of people with a disability.

The Department funds a range of initiatives that encourage employers to employ people with disabilities. Collectively these initiatives are called the Employer Incentives Strategy, and include the Workplace Modifications Scheme, the Wage Subsidy Scheme, the Supported Wage System and the Disability Recruitment Coordinator.

Workplace Modifications Scheme

The Workplace Modifications Scheme reimburses employers for the costs involved in modifying the workplace or purchasing special equipment for workers with disabilities. To qualify for assistance, companies must employ the person for at least eight hours a week in a job that is expected to last for at least three months.

Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Wage Subsidy Scheme provides financial incentives for employers to employ workers with disabilities under normal labour market conditions, with the aim of improving workers' competitiveness by increasing their skills and experience.

Through subsidised employment placements, workers are able to obtain employment and acquire valuable skills and experience. The scheme offers financial assistance through wage subsidies to employers that employ eligible workers with disabilities.

Supported Wage System

The Supported Wage System enables people with disabilities to be paid according to their level of workplace productivity in the open labour market. The system recognises that some people cannot maintain employment at full award wages due to their disability.

Eligible workers undergo an independent productivity assessment to measure their productivity in comparison to other workers in the workplace undertaking the same or similar job. Employers pay a wage equivalent to the assessed productivity percentage of the applicable award wage for positions expected to stabilise at eight hours per week or more.

Disability Recruitment Coordinator

The Disability Recruitment Coordinator provides larger employers with a single contact point for the recruitment of people with disabilities and provides a source of vacancies for disability open employment services.

4.Which of these programs have a more general target group but might benefit people with disabilities?

Of the payment and services available the following have a more general target group.

Of the payments delivered:

Newstart Allowance

Youth Allowance

Pensioner Education Supplement

Services available are:

Centrelink Personal Advisors

Centrelink Social Workers

Referrals to Job Network

Referrals to the Personal Support Program

All rehabilitation programs provided by CRS Australia are targeted at people who have a disability.

Career Planning is targeted at income support recipients in general.

NAAP, VETPPP and JPP

The Commission's Workplace Diversity Plan emphasises the importance of the APS Values and Code of Conduct in employment decisions. Whilst this has a broader target group (that is, all employees), the application of the accessibility and non-discrimination principles would benefit people with a disability.

Job Network

Job Network is a national network of community and private organisations contracted to find jobs for unemployed people. All Job Network members provide employment services to people with a disability who do not have ongoing support needs. Services are provided through a single Job Network member who works with a job seeker until they find employment. Job Network provides assistance for eligible job seekers tailored to their individual employment needs, including assistance with developing a job search and activity plan, job applications, interviews and support for up to six months after finding a job.

From 1 July 2005, job seekers in receipt of Disability Support Pension (DSP) will be able to register directly with Job Network without the need for a referral from Centrelink. This provides a dual pathway and improved access to Job Network services for job seekers receiving DSP. Centrelink will continue to be able to refer job seekers on Disability Support Pension to Job Network.

Job Network members also have access to a dedicated pool of funds, the Job Seeker Account, to purchase a wide range of assistance to help eligible job seekers address their barriers to employment and assist them into work.

All Job Network members are required to meet strict quality and service delivery standards. Job Network members must meet a Code of Practice and provide a Service Guarantee to job seekers. These services must be sensitive to job seekers' circumstances and background as well as tailored both to their needs and available job opportunities.

There are a number of Job Network members who have specialist capabilities in working with job seekers with a disability or mental health conditions or illnesses.

Personal Support Programme

The Personal Support Programme (PSP) bridges the gap between crisis assistance and employment assistance programmes. It provides assistance to people whose non-vocational barriers (such as homelessness, mental health issues, drug or gambling problems or social isolation) prevent them from getting a job or benefiting from Job Network or other employment assistance services.

The programme is open to people of workforce age receiving income support, as well as those aged 15-20 who do not receive any payment but are registered as job seekers with Centrelink. Eligibility for PSP is assessed by Centrelink. The programme will assist 45,000 participants in 2004-05.

There are currently 148 organisations covering 600 sites across funded to deliver PSP services. Of the 600 Australian sites, 230 are non-metropolitan sites. Around 40 per cent of PSP providers offer specialist assistance, eg targeted to people with mental health issues, ex-offenders or people facing drug and alcohol issues. There are approximately 60 sites (10%) registered as having a speciality in mental health and 10 sites registered as having a speciality in physical/intellectual disabilities.

Participants receive assistance to help them tackle the non-vocational barriers that are holding them back. Services provided can include assessment (such as psychological assessment or functional capacity assessment), counselling (general counselling, or for specific issues such as grief counselling), referral and advocacy (linking participants into their community and accessing services), practical support (such as assistance to find stable housing or with transport) and development of personal skills (for example anger management or self-esteem training).

Job Placement Employment and Training ( JPET)

JPET is an employment preparatory programme that assists disadvantaged and disconnected young people aged 15 to 21 years (with a focus on 15-19 year olds) to overcome multiple personal and social barriers that severely limit their capacity to:

          take up or re-engage with education, study or vocational training;

          find and keep work or be ready to find and keep work;

          benefit from employment assistance; and

          participate socially in the life of their communities.

Young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are the primary focus of JPET. JPET also helps young people who face multiple barriers that severely limit their participation including:

          young people leaving care or the juvenile justice system;

          young refugees; and

          young people who are particularly disadvantaged because of geographic isolation.

The focus of JPET is on helping at-risk young people to stabilise their life situation, and then to address their severe and often multiple barriers so that they can move on to employment assistance or re-engage in education.

The range of barriers JPET seeks to help young people overcome include drug and alcohol abuse, sexual abuse or violence, mental health issues, issues related to refugee backgrounds such as torture and trauma, low education levels, poor communication/language skills and social isolation and alienation.

JPET is delivered by a network of services with experience in assisting disadvantaged young people and who can draw on and work collaboratively with existing community support services and networks within their local community. The JPET network of services provides assistance that address the needs of their local community and which have flexibility to address the range of barriers young people in their community may face.

The evaluation of JPET conducted in 2001, JPET - Keeping on Track (JPET Evaluation), reported that around 20% of all JPET participants in the evaluation sample received assistance with drug and alcohol issues, and less than 33% received assistance for health issues. Less than 20% of all JPET participants received assistance to deal with legal issues.

More recent data indicates that around 25% of participants receive assistance for mental health and/or drug and alcohol issues.

5. How many people with disabilities are assisted by each of these programs per annum?

For the payments below the numbers are reflective of the customers on that payment as at

3 March 2005.

Disability Support Pension: 706,321 customers

Sickness Allowance: 8,725 customers

Newstart Allowance: 522,521 customers

Youth Allowance: 349,535 customers

Mobility Allowance: 47,600 customers

Pensioner Education Supplement: 38,865 customers[1]

A breakdown of the medical conditions of customers in receipt of DSP is as follows.

Acquired brain impairment: 2.5%

Amputation: 0.2%

Cancer/tumour: 1.9%

Chronic fatigue/post viral syndrome: 0.4%

Chronic pain: 0.9%

Circulatory system: 5.2%

Congenital abnormality: 1.6%

Endocrine and immune system: 2.5%

Gastro-intestinal system: 0.1%

Granted prior to 12.11.91: 3.6%

Intellectual/learning: 10.9%

Musculo-skeletal and connective tissue: 34.0%

Nervous system: 3.3%

Psychological/psychiatric: 26.0%

Reproductive system: 0.0%

Respiratory system: 2.8%

Sense organs: 2.4%

Skin disorders and burns: 0.3%

Urogenital system: 0.1%

Visceral disorder: 1.3%

Numbers of DSP customers referred to Employment Assistance Programs extrapolated for a twelve month period

Referrals to Job Network: 20,000 customers[2]

Referrals to Disability Open Employment Services: 20,000 customers

Referrals to Disability Business Services: 2,700 customers

Referrals to Vocational Rehabilitation: 36,000 customers

Referrals to the Personal Support Program: 115,000 customers[3]

Centrelink Disability Officers, Centrelink Psychologists, Centrelink Social Workers and Centrelink Personal Advisors see customers as needed. These services are not capped and all customers are able to make use of the services provided.

In the financial year 2003-4 CRS Australia assisted over 40,000 people with a disability. This included over 24,000 new clients who came to CRS Australia during 2003-4, and over 16,000 existing clients. The goal in the vast majority of programs was to help them find or keep a job. A detailed breakdown is presented in table 1.

CRS Australia services, 2003-4

S22 - Government funded clients (new clients during 2003-4): 24,403 persons assisted

S22 - Government funded clients (existing clients as at Jul 1 2003): 16,554 persons assisted

S25 - Commercial rehab programs (new clients during 2003-4): 4,138 persons assisted

S25 - Commercial rehab programs (existing clients as at Jul 1 2003): 3,156 persons assisted

S00 - Single services, consultancies: 2,603 persons assisted

Notes:

Persons Assisted: is the number of government funded (S22) & commercial (S25) clients who commenced one or more vocational rehabilitation programs in the time period. For commercial single service (S00) cases, it is the total number of new cases opened.

Budget: is the amount of funding provided to CRS Australia under the
SLA for government funded clients. For S25 and S00 cases, it is the total amount of invoiced revenue during the time period.

S22 refers to the provision of an Australian Government funded vocational rehabilitation program, generally to a person on a Centrelink pension or benefit.

S25 refers to programs provided under Section 25 of the DSA, which enables CRS Australia to enter into an arrangement whereby another party, other than the Australian Government, pays for the costs of the rehabilitation program. Commonly these arrangements are with insurers in the workers compensation market.

S00 are single services provided by CRS Australia on a fee for service basis, such as a Functional Capacity Evaluation for an insurer

People with a disability assisted in 2003-04 or 2004

DCO Programme: Approx. 2,000

RDLO Initiative:RDLOs provide general information services rather than direct assistance to individuals with a disability.

DNAWS: Approx. 200

NAAP: 138

Group Train New Apps TIP: Approx. 80

VETPPP: 788

AWT: VET statistics for 2004 have not been published yet. The funds contributed to 91,400 people with a disability participating in 2003.

JPP: 2,586

POEM: 171 notifications but these participants might have multiple disabilities and therefore the total number of people might be less than 171

Transitions project: Not applicable

Definite data is hard to find, but as at 30 June 2004 the Commission employed 12 people who identified as having a disability (from a total of 172). A further 4 declined to provide any data.

Disability Open Employment Services

In 2003-04, disability open employment services helped 48,431 people with moderate to severe disabilities find and keep work in the open employment market or in self-employment. The 2005 Budget provided funding for an additional 20,700 disability open employment places over three years, starting 1 July 2006.

Vocational Rehabilitation

In 2003-04, CRS Australia provided rehabilitation programmes to 41,354 people with disabilities. The 2005 Budget provided funding for 41,700 additional vocational rehabilitation places over three years, starting 1 July 2006.

Job Network

In 2003-04, over 88,600 people with disabilities were referred to Job Network for assistance. As at 29 April 2005, 12.6 % of job seekers in Job Network have reported having a disability. The 2005 Budget provided funding for an additional 31,700 places in Job Network over three years to help people with disabilities into work, starting 1 July 2006.

Personal Support Programme

In 2004-05, PSP will provide services to over 45,000 people. About 40% of these will have a disability or a mental health problem. Participant numbers will grow to over 50,000 in 2005-06. The 2005 Budget provided funding for an additional 25,000 places over three years, starting 1 July 2006.

JPET

In 2003-04 JPET provided assistance to 231 young people who were in receipt of a DSP. This represents 1.6% of the total 13,861 young people who were assisted during that time. During the current financial year to end April 2005, JPET provided assistance to 191 DSP recipients, or 1.7% of commencements in the programme. The 2005 Budget provided funding for an additional 270 places over three years, starting 1 July 2006.

Employer Incentives Strategy

In 2003-04, 275 people were assisted under the Workplace Modifications Scheme, 2,580 were assisted under the Wage Subsidy Scheme and 3,425 people were assisted under the Supported Wage System. In 2004, jobs were identified for 815 people with disabilities in large corporations by the Disability Recruitment Coordinator.

6. What budget is allocated to each of these programs per annum?

Centrelink does not allocate a budget in relation to Government Program outlays.

Federal government funding for vocational rehabilitation programs totalled over $137.931 million is supplemented by income from our commercial programs of around $30 million, in 2004-2005. Included in commercial services are revenues from a range of other Australian Government contracts such as rehabilitation for veterans and military compensation.

Allocation in 2004-05 ($'000)

DCO Programme: 1,280

RDLO Initiative: 986

DNAWS: No specific allocation;

programme is demand driven

NAAP: 10,600

Group Train New Apps TIP: 5,000

VETPPP: 20,500

AWT: 4,080

JPP: 23,956

POEM: 2,300

Transitions project: 100

No specific budget, it is part of standard operating procedure.

Disability Open Employment Services

In 2003-2004, $146.4 million was spend on disability open employment services and $16.4 million on open employment services that also provided supported employment. A further $173.6 million over three years was announced in the 2005 Budget for disability open employment services, starting 1 July 2006.

Vocational Rehabilitation

DEWR has a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with CRS Australia to provide vocational rehabilitation services on behalf of the Government. In 2004-05, a total of $137.3 million will be provided to CRS Australia under the
SLA for vocational rehabilitation services.

CRS Australia also undertakes approximately $30 million per annum in commercial work making it the largest single provider in the compensable rehabilitation market. This work is won through competitive tender/panel contract arrangements and is consistent with Section 25 of the Disability Services Act 1986 and the Government's competitive neutrality principles. Revenue earned in this market contributes approximately $6 million to CRS Australia revenue for the provision of vocational rehabilitation programmes for the Australian Government.

A further $186 million over three years was announced in the 2005 Budget for vocational rehabilitation, starting 1 July 2006.

Job Network

Access to Job Network is demand driven. If a job seeker is eligible, they will receive the appropriate level of assistance based on their circumstances and assessed level of disadvantage. The total expenditure for Job Network in 2003-04 was $999.1 million. A further $87.2 million dollars over three years was announced in the 2005 Budget for Job Network to help people with disabilities into work, starting 1 July 2006.

Personal Support Programme

The budget for PSP in 2004-05 is $54 million. This will rise to $62 million in 2005-06. Following the 2005 Budget announcement, funding for PSP will rise to $84 million in 2006-07.

JPET

In 2004-05, JPET received funding of $19.5 million to provide assistance to 14,000 young people.

Employer Incentives Strategy

Under the Employer Incentives Strategy, $1.8 million has been allocated for the Supported Wage System for 2004-05, $3.5 million for the Wage Subsidy Scheme, $0.8 million for the Workplace Modifications Scheme and $1.7 million for the National Disability Recruitment Coordinator. As announced in the 2005 Budget, additional funding of $25 million (over four years) will be made available for workplace modifications and $5 million (over four years) for wage subsidies, starting 1 July 2005.

7. What are the specific features of each of these programs?

Disability Support Pension ensures an adequate level of income for people whose physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment prevents them from returning to work in the near future, or for people who are permanently blind.

Sickness Allowance provides assistance for people who are employed and who are temporarily unable to work because of a medical condition. In some situations, full-time students may also qualify for Sickness Allowance.

Newstart Allowance can be paid to customers who are temporarily incapacitated and do not qualify for Sickness Allowance because they do not have a job or study to return to. This payment assists customer financially whilst looking for work or study.

Youth Allowance can be paid to customers who are temporarily incapacitated and do not qualify for Sickness Allowance because they do not have a job or study to return to or they are under the statutory age limit for Sickness Allowance. This payment assists customer financially whilst looking for work or study.

Mobility Allowance helps people with a disability who are undertaking voluntary work, paid work, training or a combination of these activities and cannot use public transport without extra assistance with the extra cost of travel.

Pensioner Education Supplement aims to help customers with the costs associated with study.

Centrelink Disability Officers are technically and professionally trained to provide assistance for people with disabilities. Centrelink Disability Officers have a detailed knowledge of disabilities and local services available in the area and help link customers to the services they require.

Centrelink Psychologists make assessments and recommendations to help customers identify and develop their potential to participate in employment, education, training and other social participation activities.

Centrelink Personal Advisors provide additional help for a range of customers in their efforts to get a job or to participate as fully as possible in their community.

Centrelink Social Workers provide a professional assessment, counselling and support services to customers whose personal and family situation could be a barrier to their increased social and economic participation.

Referrals to Job Network assist customers to get into contact with a local provider. The job network providers are dedicated to helping job seekers find and keep a job.

Referrals to Disability Open Employment Services assist customer to get into contact with a local provider. Disability Open Employment Services support a customer while training for work, to find a job and also continual support once the customer has started employment in the open labour market.

Referrals to Disability Business Services assist customer to get into contact with a local provider. Business Services, also known as Supported Employment Services, employ and support people with a disability, often in specialist working environments.

Referrals to Vocational Rehabilitation assist customer to get into contact with a local provider. Vocational Rehabilitation providers, at present only CRS Australia,

Referrals to the Personal Support Program are designed for people with multiple non-vocational barriers to achieve economic and / or social outcomes. The program helps customers improve their individual circumstances so they have an enhanced capacity for work or social participation.

See response to Question 3 above

As described in Question 1 above

The Supported Wage System enables the Commission to employ a person at a particular work level standard even if they are not able to perform the full duties of the position due to their disability. The provisions of the Commission's Workplace Diversity Plan and Disability Action Plan ensure that the Values and Code of Conduct underpin employment decisions in the Commission.

See descriptions of the programmes above.

8. What are the eligibility criteria for each of these programs?

Disability Support Pension

To qualify for Disability Support Pension a person must:

          be permanently blind, or

          have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment of at least 20 points under the Impairment Tables, and

          have a continuing inability to work for at least the next two years because of the impairment or be participating in the Supported Wage System (SWS), and

          have turned 16 years, and

          currently be an Australian resident who either:

          was an Australian resident at the time when the person's continuing inability to work occurred because of the impairment

          has 10 years qualifying Australian residence or a qualifying residence exemption.

Sickness Allowance

To qualify for Sickness Allowance, a person must:

          be employed (including in some circumstances, being self-employed) and aged between 21 years and age pension age, or

          be a full-time student aged 21 years or over and in receipt of ABSTUDY, or

          be a full-time student aged 25 years or over and in receipt of Austudy, and

          be an Australian resident and present in Australia at time of claiming SA (claimants are also subject to the 104 week waiting period for newly arrived residents), and

          have an temporary incapacity and a medical certificate from a doctor to prove temporary incapacity, and

          Immediately before the incapacity:

          have been in paid employment (either self-employed or employed on a full-time, part-time, casual or temporary basis) and when the incapacity ceases the employment will be again available to the person, or

          have been a former student in receipt of either Austudy or ABSTUDY and has deferred their study due to the illness or injury, and

          have taken reasonable action to claim compensation where this is available and appropriate.

Newstart Allowance

To qualify for Newstart Allowance with an exemption from the activity test a person must:

          qualify in all respects for Newstart Allowance, and

          Customers aged 21 years or over who have a job or full-time study to return to when they have recovered, will not be eligible for NSA (Incapacitated), and instead should test their eligibility for Sickness Allowance (SA).

To be exempted from the Activity Test, new and existing customers must:

          show that they are unfit to do at least eight hours work a week at award wages and above, and

          have a medical certificate stating they are unfit for work.

Youth Allowance

To qualify for Youth Allowance with an exemption from the activity test a person must:

          qualify in all respects for Youth Allowance, and

          be aged 20 years or below, and

To be exempted from the Activity Test, new and existing customers must:

          show that they are unfit to do at least eight hours work a week at award wages and above, and

          have a medical certificate stating they are unfit for work.

Mobility Allowance

To qualify for Mobility Allowance with an exemption from the activity test a person must:

          be an Australian resident (includes those who have a qualifying residence exemption), and in at the time of lodging the claim,

          be aged 16 years or older

          have a physical, psychiatric or intellectual disability that prevents them from using public transport, without substantial assistance, permanently or for an extended period of time (one year or more). This criterion has no bearing on the availability of public transport

          satisfy the MOB Travel Test by being able to demonstrate that they need to travel as part of their employment, vocational training, voluntary work or job seeking activities

          not have been provided with a gift car from Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA). Note: The purchase of a GST free vehicle does not effect qualification for MOB. (For information on purchasing GST-free cars, customers should be referred to the Australian Taxation Office)

          not be in gaol or undergoing psychiatric confinement in connection with a conviction

          and, satisfy one of the following:

          be in gainful employment, vocational training or voluntary work, or a combination of these activities, for thirty-two hours or more per 4 weeks on a continuing basis (three months or more)

          be participating in an Open Employment Services program

          be participating in a program of job search activities under an agreement between Centrelink and a service provider funded by Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR)

          be participating in an Independent Living/Life Skills course.

          be receiving Newstart Allowance (NSA), Youth Allowance (YA) or Austudy payment, and satisfy the activity test associated with these payments.

CRS Australia vocational rehabilitation courses are not allowable vocational training activities for MOB purposes.

Customers with Activity Test exemptions are not qualified for MOB if their only qualifying activity is NSA, YA or Austudy.

Pensioner Education Supplement

You qualify for the Pensioner Education Supplement if you are receiving:

          A payment from Centrelink:

          Parenting Payment (Single)

          Disability Support Pension

          Carer Payment

          Special Benefit (as a sole parent)

          Widow B Pension

          Widow Allowance

          Wife Pension - if your partner receives a Disability Support Pension.

A payment from the Department of Veterans' Affairs:

          Defence Widow/er Pension (if you have a dependent child under 16)

          Invalidity Service Pension

          Partner Service Pension (if your partner is receiving an Invalidity Service Pension)

          War Widow/er Pension (if you have a dependent child under 16).

You must be undertaking approved full-time or part-time study. The part-time study must be at least 25 per cent of a full-time study load and can be approved if you are a sole parent, carer or you have a substantial disability. The Pensioner Education Supplement is a non-taxable payment and does not have an income or assets tests.

Please Note: Masters and Doctorate level studies are not approved courses for the Pensioner Education Supplement.

You must also meet certain residence requirements.

Centrelink Disability Officers

Anyone can have an appointment with a Centrelink Disability Officer.

Centrelink Psychologists

Anyone can have an appointment with a Centrelink Psychologist.

Centrelink Personal Advisors

There are limited target groups for Personal Advisors. These target groups include:

          All mature age people aged 50 or over in receipt of Widows Allowance (WA), Partner Allowance (PA) or Mature Age Allowance (MAA) granted before 20 September 2002 were invited to attend a voluntary participation planning interview and continue to have access to Personal Adviser intervention on a voluntary basis.

          All claimants of Widows Allowance (WA) granted on or after 20 September 2003 are required to attend a compulsory interview within 12 months of grant and will attend annual interviews at least every 12 months. Attendance at interviews for these customers prior to 12 months on payment is voluntary.

          All Newstart customers aged 50 years and over are required to attend ongoing participation planning interviews with a Personal Adviser and undertake suitable participation activities set out in their Participation Agreement.

          Parenting Payment customers whose youngest child is aged 6 to 12, who have been in receipt of income support for six months or more (short periods off payment of up to 13 weeks and time on other payments count towards the six months), are required to attend a compulsory annual participation planning interview.

          Parenting Payment customers whose youngest child is aged 6 to 12, who have not been in receipt of income support for six months or more, are able to attend a participation planning interview with a Personal Adviser. This interview is voluntary.

          Parenting Payment customers whose youngest child is aged 0 to 5 years are able to attend a participation planning interview with a Personal Adviser. This interview is voluntary.

          Parenting Payment customers who are classified as a Teenage eligible customers, i.e. 19 years or less, are a priority target group. The compulsory nature of these interviews is dependant on the age of the customer's youngest child and length of time on payment.

          Job seekers recently released from prison

          Indigenous job seekers

          Job seekers who are granted certain exemptions from the Activity Test

          Current NSA/YA recipients who lodge a medical certificate, are profiled as high risk by the Incap Customer Service Officer (CSO) and are granted a temporary incapacitated (INP) or pending further assessment (PFA) exemption from the Activity Test;

          Current NSA/YA recipients who lodge a medical certificate for which a temporary incapacitated exemption is not granted, however, on previous medical certificate/s was/were granted an incapacitated exemption, and the customer is profiled as high risk by the Incap CSO;

          New claimant for NSA/YA who lodge a medical certificate with 14 days of their new claim, who profile as high risk and are granted a temporary INP or PFA exemption from the Activity Test; or

          Customers who lodge a NSA/YA Incap review form, who are profiled as high risk.

Centrelink Social Workers

Anyone can have an appointment with a Centrelink Social Worker.

Referrals to Job Network

Full Job Network services are available to job seekers when they are registered as looking for work.

Full Job Network Eligible (FJNE) job seekers are job seekers, registered with Centrelink who are:

          not in full-time education or training and receiving a qualifying Commonwealth income support payment, or

          participating in a Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP), or

          aged 15-20 years of age and not receiving income support, and:

          not working more than 15 hours per week, or

          not in full-time education or training, or

          not serving the Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period (NARWP).

Centrelink will refer to job search training activities a person who is returning to the workforce after two years as unpaid carers in the following circumstances:

          There are no Transition to Work services available.

          They are eligible for JSS and are registered as unemployed with Centrelink for three months or more, and they are not FJNE.

          They confirm that their main activity has been unpaid care giving during at least the past two years

          They have also not been in paid employment for 13 or more consecutive weeks during the past two years, and

          They are looking for employment of at least 15 hours or more per week

          If migrants, they have Australian permanent residency and have been living in for more than two years, or if in for less than two years, they are exempt from the newly arrived resident waiting period.

Job seekers are eligible for a voluntary referral to the Job Network if:

          They are participating in one of the following approved activities - Voluntary work; Voluntary work and paid work combined; Part time work; No job search requirements; Adult literacy course; Adult migrant education.

          They have an Activity Test exemption - Refugee (first 6 months); refugee (first 13 weeks); expectant mother; community service order; caring responsibilities; major personal crisis; major personal disruption at home.

          They are meeting the activity test by participating in the Personal Support Programme (PSP). This also applies if the job seeker has been referred but is not yet participating.

          They are a mature age customer (over 50 years of age) with no recent workforce experience.

          They are participating in CDEP, or

          They are under 21 years of age and not in receipt of income support.

          They are in receipt of one of the following non-activity tested payments - DSP, Parenting Payment (PP), Partner Allowance (PA), Carer Payment (CP), Widow B Pension (WidB), Widow Allowance (WA), Wife Pension (WP) and Mature Age Allowance (NMA).

Referrals to Disability Open Employment Services

A job seeker does not have to be receiving, or be eligible to receive, income support payments to be eligible for assistance from disability employment services.

Eligibility for referral to disability employment services is based primarily on the impact of a person's disability on their ability to work. Job seekers with disabilities are assessed for their eligibility for referral to this service through either:

          A Disability Employment Indicators assessment, or

          An assessment by a specialist assessor (Centrelink Psychologist, work capacity assessor, medical assessor or Centrelink Disability Officer as part of the Better Assessment and Early Intervention measure.

Referrals to Disability Business Services

A job seeker does not have to be receiving, or be eligible to receive, income support payments to be eligible for assistance from disability employment services.

Eligibility for referral to disability employment services is based primarily on the impact of a person's disability on their ability to work. Job seekers with disabilities are assessed for their eligibility for referral to this service through either:

          A Disability Employment Indicators assessment, or

          An assessment by a specialist assessor (Centrelink Psychologist, work capacity assessor, medical assessor or Centrelink Disability Officer as part of the Better Assessment and Early Intervention measure.

Referrals to Vocational Rehabilitation

A job seeker with an illness, injury or disability does not have to be receiving, or be eligible to receive, income support payments to be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation. If the job seeker is not in receipt of an income support payment, and wishes to be considered for Vocational Rehabilitation a Disability Employment Indicators Assessment should be completed. If the outcome of the Disability Employment Indicators Assessment is Vocational Rehabilitation the customer may be referred to the program.

Referrals to the Personal Support Program

To be eligible for referral to Personal Support Program, a customer must be deemed by Centrelink to:

          have multiple non-vocational barriers to work which prevent successful participation in employment programs or activities such as Intensive Support customised assistance, and

          have a capacity to benefit from Personal Support Program as assessed by a Centrelink specialist officer, i.e. Centrelink Psychologist, Centrelink Disability Officer, or Social Worker, and either

          be in receipt of one of the Personal Support Programme qualifying Centrelink payments, or

          be registered as a job seeker, aged 15-20 if not in receipt of income support.

Customers receiving other income support e.g. Carer Payment or Sickness Allowance, or those not receiving income support (except those registered as a job seeker, aged 15-20 and not in receipt of income support) are not eligible for PSP. Customers involved in certain employment programs or in full time study are not eligible to commence PSP. However, a job seeker participating in Personal Support Program can commence specific Employment Assistance programmes and remain in the Personal Support Program concurrently for up to six months.

CRS Australia provides vocational rehabilitation programs under Part III of the Disability Services Act 1986 (DSA).

The objects of the Act include:

Section 3(1) (c) to promote services provided to persons with disabilities that:

          assist persons with disabilities to integrate in the community, and complement services available generally to persons in the community;

          assist persons with disabilities to achieve positive outcomes, such as increased independence, employment opportunities and integration in the community; and

          are provided in ways that promote in the community a positive image of persons with disabilities and enhance their self-esteem.

and

Section 3(2) in construing the objects and administering this Act, due regard must be had to:

          the limited resources available to provide services and programs under this Act; and

          the need to consider equity and merit in accessing those resources.

Section 18 of the Act defines the target group for rehabilitation services as persons who:

          have attained 14 years of age but have not attained 65 years of age; and

          have a disability that

          is attributable to an intellectual, psychiatric, sensory or physical impairment or a combination of such impairments; and

results in a substantially reduced capacity of the person:

          to obtain or retain unsupported paid employment; or

          to live independently.

Section 21 requires that the person is an Australian citizen or a person resident in .

Section 20 requires that the provision of a rehabilitation program would result in the person having a substantially increased capacity to obtain or retain paid employment or live independently.

The Disability Services (Rehabilitation Programs) Guidelines enacted under subsection 5(1) of the Act directs that:

          the objects of the Act are more likely to be achieved through the provision of vocational programs than through the provision of non vocational programs [Part 2, subsection 9(b)]; and

          the medical condition of a person is sufficiently stable to allow the person to participate in, and benefit from, the rehabilitation program [Part 2, subsection 10 (2)].

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) establishes the operational priorities and detail of expected outcomes of government funded vocational rehabilitation programs provided by CRS Australia in an annual Service Level Agreement.

DCO Programme - All people with a disability, their families etc, interested in post-school options

RDLO Initiative - All people with a disability, their families etc, interested in post-school options

DNAWS - Applicants must be eligible to access the New Apprenticeships Incentives Programme; must also satisfy "on the job" capability criteria for DNAWS

NAAP - All people with a disability

Group Train New Apps TIP-Open to all New Apprentices

VETPPP - Low income earner that meets the following criteria, person with a disability, or aged 45 years or older; or a parent entering or re-entering the workforce.

AWT - All people with a disability. However, entry requirements for VET courses are determined by State and Territory training authorities and Registered Training Organisations.

JPP - A young person must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident and be between the ages of 13 and 19. An eligible young person must also be someone who:

- is 'at risk' of leaving school prematurely, i.e. the young person is likely to drop out of school during 2005 before they achieve the level of education that is the prerequisite to achieve their career goal; or

- is in school and intending to leave school by 31 December 2005 and have personal factors that make them 'at risk' of not being able to achieve their desired pathway; or

- has left school up to twelve months prior to an assessment conducted in the current funding period and is at risk of not competing effectively in the labour market.

POEM - Young people between the ages of 13-19 who were disconnected and fell into the target groups of homeless, indigenous, at risk of homelessness, substance abuse issues, physical disability, learning disability, culturally and linguistically diverse, young carers ( other than parents), low self esteem, in detention facilities, Juvenile Justice (not in detention) victims of abuse, mental health issues, intellectual disability, affected by family breakdown, young parents, gifted, behavioural issues

Transitions project - All students participating in structured workplace learning with an employer as part of a secondary school program

For the Supported Wage System, the person must meet the impairment criteria set out for the DSP.

Disability Open Employment Services

Under section 8 of the Disability Services Act 1986, disability open employment services are to assist people with a disability that:

a)        is attributable to an intellectual, psychiatric, sensory or physical impairment or combination of such impairments;

b)        is permanent or likely to be permanent; and

c)        results in:

          substantially reduced capacity of the person for communication, learning or mobility; and

          the need for ongoing support services.

On going support is usually defined as more than six months support after placement in employment.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Under section 18 of the Disability Services Act 1986 (Part III), vocational rehabilitation services assist people who:

a)        have attained 14 years of age but not have attained 65 years of age;

b)        have a disability that:

          is attributable to an intellectual, psychiatric, sensory or physical impairment or combination of such impairments; and

c)        results in:

          substantially reduced capacity of the person:

i)         to obtain or retain unsupported paid employment; or

ii)        to live independently.

Job Network

Job Network services comprise:

          Job Search Support - an ongoing personalised service to eligible job seekers; and

          Intensive Support - additional assistance of graduated intensity to eligible job seekers based on their duration of unemployment or risk of long term unemployment.

There are two categories of eligibility for Job Network services:

1. Fully Job Network Eligible (FJNE); and

2. Job Search Support Only (JSSO).

Fully Job Network Eligible job seekers are eligible for the full range of Job Network services including Job Search Support and, subject to qualifying rules, Intensive Support. Job Search Support Only job seekers are eligible for the Job Search Support component of Job Network services alone.

FJNE job seekers must be registered as looking for work and:

         be in receipt of a qualifying income support payment; or

         be aged 15-20 years, not on qualifying government income support and not in full-time education or training; or

         be an Indigenous Australian who is participating in the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme.

A person is eligible for Job Search Support Only if they are looking for work and eligible for Job Network services, but who is either not Fully Job Network Eligible or who, if FJNE but not in receipt of Newstart or Youth Allowances, chooses the JSSO level of services. A person undertaking less than 15 hours paid work per week is also eligible for Job Search Support Only (JSSO).

Personal Support Programme

PSP provides services to people on income support payments who are assessed by Centrelink as being unable to benefit from employment assistance programme. PSP target people with non-vocational barriers such as homelessness, family violence, drug and alcohol problems or mental issues. Priority is given to people on payments that have an activity test requirements.

JPET

Young people aged 15 to 21 years (with a focus on 15-19 year olds) who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are the primary focus of JPET.

JPET also helps young people who face multiple barriers that severely limit their participation including:

          young people leaving care or the juvenile justice system;

          young refugees; and

          young people who are particularly disadvantaged because of geographic isolation.

To be eligible, young people must be Australian citizens, have permanent residency or hold Temporary Protection Visas and not be in sustainable employment. Young people under school leaving age in their state or territory are not eligible for JPET services.

Young people aged 18 to 21 years can be assisted by JPET as part of their Mutual Obligation requirement.

Employer Incentives Strategy

The Workplace Modifications Scheme reimburses employers for the costs involved in modifying the workplace or purchasing special equipment for workers with disabilities.

To qualify for assistance, companies must employ the person for at least eight hours a week in a job that is expected to last for at least three months.

A worker must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident and is either:

a)        supported by:

      a DEWR funded open employment service;

      a FaCS funded Business Service that either holds a current Quality Assurance certificate;

      a Job Network Intensive Support customised assistance provider; OR

b)        participating in:

      the Supported Wage Scheme; or

      the New
Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS).

Workers assisted through these agencies must be employed under a legal industrial arrangement that complies with the minimum standards established by Commonwealth, State or Territory law.

The Wage Subsidy Scheme provides financial incentives for employers to employ 'workers' with disabilities under normal labour market conditions, with the aim of improving workers' competitiveness by increasing their skills and experience.

The employment must be with an eligible employer, and be under open employment conditions for at least 8 hours per week, for at least 13 weeks (with a reasonable expectation of exceeding 13 weeks).

A 'worker' for purposes of wage subsidy funding, means either :

          an individual that meets the eligibility requirements of section 8(1) of the Disability Services Act 1986 (refer above) and who is receiving employment assistance from a DEWR-funded disability employment service outlet; OR

          an individual that meets the eligibility requirements of section 18 of the Disability Services Act 1986 (Part III) and who is receiving vocational rehabilitation from CRS Australia.

To be eligible, employers must be in the private, community, Australian Government, state or local government sector; offer employment under a normal employer/employee relationship; be incorporated, if a community or charitable organisation; and employ the worker under a legal industrial agreement.

9. Are there any specific exclusions from these programs, which might be relevant to people with disabilities?

All relevant exclusions have been mentioned above

As noted in the response to Question 8 above:

          the DSA has an age restriction of 14-64 years,

          the person must be an Australian citizen or a person resident in
.

          provision of a rehabilitation program must result in the person having a substantially increased capacity to obtain or retain paid employment or live independently

In addition, the funding of programs is currently capped with demand outstripping supply

Exclusions

DCO Programme: None

RDLO Initiative: None

DNAWS: Applicant must be in open employment; ADHD and ADD not eligible except in the presence of another disability

NAAP: None

Group Train New Apps TIP: None

VETPPP: None

AWT: Not known

JPP: None

POEM: None

Transitions project: None

The Supported Wage System cannot be used for employees who are in receipt of workers' compensation payments, or when the agency is in receipt of funding as a service provider and sheltered employer in respect of that employee.

Disability Open Employment Services

People who do not meet the eligibility criteria as described above, or who need less than six months of post placement support are not eligible for assistance.

Vocational Rehabilitation

The following groups of people are not eligible for vocational rehabilitation:

          people who are not Australian citizens;

          those prohibited by law from working in ; and

          people who do not have the capacity to benefit from a vocational rehabilitation programme.

Job Network

The following groups of jobseekers are not eligible for either FJNE or JSSO Job Network services:

          full time students;

          those working in paid employment for 15 hours or more per week;

          overseas visitors on working holiday visas; or

          those prohibited by law from working in
.

Further, job seekers participating in disability open employment services, PSP or vocational rehabilitation (except where such a programme is purchased through the Job Seeker Account) are not eligible for Intensive Support services until they have completed that programme. They are only eligible for Job Search Support services until they complete the other service.

Employer Incentives Strategy

Eligibility for the Supported Wage Scheme is restricted to people who meet the impairment criteria for the Disability Support Pension.

Workers not eligible for assistance under the Workplace Modifications Scheme are those undertaking a DEST funded New Apprenticeship; or who are only in receipt of Job Search Support services (Job Network); or undertaking a rehabilitation programme with CRS Australia; or who have any outstanding workers compensation claims against the current employer.

Workplace Modification assistance is not available for non-disability specific modifications or equipment; educating co-workers (eg interpreters to facilitate communication between a worker and other staff); or domestic modifications.

The eligibility criteria for the Workplace Modifications Scheme are currently being examined with a view to broadening them.

Workers not eligible for the Wage Subsidy Scheme are workers who:

          have outstanding workers' compensation claims against the current employer;

          are in receipt of funding or awaiting assistance from a Job Network Intensive Support customised assistance service; or

          are in receipt of other wage support programmes (eg Disabled New Apprentice Assistance Scheme or Indigenous Employment Wage Assistance Programme).

10. Are there any limitations on the period of time for which people with disabilities and/or employers may be entitled to benefit from these programs?

Vocational Rehabilitation is aimed at customer who is likely to require less than one year to re-enter the workforce, or commence job search activities

There are no specific time periods prescribed for vocational rehabilitation programs provided by CRS Australia, although the average program length is around 9 months.

Specific program components such as the work training placements have time limitations. Work training placements should not normally exceed a total of 13 weeks.

Time limitations on entitlements

DCO Programme: Not applicable

RDLO Initiative: Not applicable

DNAWS: Once eligible, for the duration of the New Apprenticeship

NAAP: Not applicable

Group Train New Apps TIP: he life of the contract (usually around three years)

VETPPP: 2 months

AWT: Funding of VET programs for people with a disability are the responsiility of State and Territory training authorities

JPP:12 months

POEM: None

Transitions project: Not applicable

The level of support provided under the Support Wage System is subject to an annual review.

Disability Open Employment Services

There is no limit to the time that a person can be in a disability open employment service.

Vocational Rehabilitation

There is no limit to the time that a person can be in a vocational rehabilitation service. The average programme is nine months.

Job Network

There is no limit to the time that a person can be in Job Network services.

Personal Support Programme

Services from a Personal Support Programme provider are available for up to two years.

JPET

Excluding the age range, there is no limitation to the amount of time a young person can receive JPET assistance. The average duration of assistance is 3.5 months.

Wage Subsidy

Wage Subsidies are paid for a maximum period of 13 weeks.

11. Are there any limitations on the total amount of money to which people with disabilities and/or employers may be entitled within these programs?

Yes there are limits to the available funds for all the payments. The rate of payment varies according to the customer's payment eligibility and also the level of the customer's income and assets.

No, there are no prescribed limits nor entitlements. A professionally trained case manager designs and manages a program by working with the client, their doctor, employers and others as necessary to identify and achieve the best possible outcomes. The actual cost of each program varies depending on individual need.

For the DEWR funded wage subsidy component of a program (where negotiated with an employer), a reimbursement of completed wage subsidy agreement monies can be made up to a maximum of $1500 plus GST per agreement. The total subsidy paid cannot exceed the equivalent of 13 weeks wages (part-time or full-time) or 13 weeks duration, and payment must be made to the employer in arrears.

Money limitations on entitlement

DCO Programme: None

RDLO Initiative: None

DNAWS: Funding is limited to the duration of the New Apprenticeship

NAAP: None

Group Train New Apps TIP: New Apprentices are not entitled to money, however they are able to access training provided by Group
Training Organisations.

VETPPP: Participants are not entitled to money, however they are able to access training provided by VETPPP.

AWT: Decisions regarding funding of VET programmes for people with a disability are the responsibnility of State and Territory traning authorities

JPP: None

POEM: Not applicable

Transitions project: Not applicable

Not really applicable.

Disability Open Employment Services

There is no limit to the amount of funding that can be spent on a job seeker whilst in a disability open employment service nor is there any minimum entitlement. Funding is linked to the relative needs of individuals and the employment outcomes they achieve. The service is not limited to spending this amount on a job seeker but is limited by the total amount of funding it receives for all of its job seekers.

Vocational Rehabilitation

There is no limit to the amount of funding that can be spent on an individual whilst in a vocational rehabilitation programme nor is there an minimum entitlement. CRS Australia is limited in the total amount of funding it receives for all of its job seekers.

Job Network

Job Network members have access to a Job Seeker Account to assist job seekers into employment and expend this funding in accordance with Job Seeker Account expenditure principles. The Job Seeker Account is credited according to the circumstances of the job seeker. The Job Network member is not limited to spending this amount on a job seeker but is limited by the total amount of funding it receives for all of its job seekers.

Personal Support Programme

The maximum funding available per Personal Support Programme participant is $3,300 over two years. The Personal Support Programme is case base funded and providers allocate their funding to staffing, operational and administration costs.

JPET

From the funding available, the average cost per JPET participant is $1,400. JPET is a grant funded programme and providers allocate their funding to staffing, operational, administration and brokerage/client costs.

Wage Subsidy

The maximum amount of subsidy DEWR will reimburse is $1,500 per wage subsidy employment outcome.

12. Are there any mechanisms for referrals to (a) other Commonwealth or (b) State agencies if the applicant fails to meet the eligibility criteria?

Centrelink makes determinations on most of the programs offered. Where a customer fails to meet the eligibility criteria for any particular payment of service the customer will be referred to the most appropriate assistance.

In making decisions regarding access, CRS Australia, must take into account whether clients could be equally or better supported by another agency. In cases where they could be supported by another agency, (eg Mental Health or Drug and Alcohol agency) then the person is referred on.

The majority of clients (60%) referred to CRS Australia for Government funded vocational rehabilitation are from Centrelink, with others coming from a range of sources. CRS Australia staff inform Centrelink of CRS' decision regarding these referrals, whether accepted or not. Where Centrelink beneficiaries are not accepted for a CRS Australia vocational rehabilitation program, (whether initially referred by Centrelink or not), CRS Australia staff discuss the decision with the client, then send Centrelink documentation providing reasons for not providing a program. This includes recommendations as to appropriate referrals or actions for each person, based on information gathered and/or assessments made.

Where clients are not Centrelink beneficiaries and are either self-referred or referred by other service providers such as doctors, CRS Australia liaises with the client and referrer to provide recommendations about further assistance required and where it is available. This may include making contact with a range of state or privately funded support organisations such as community mental health services.

Mechanisms for referral to (a) Commonwealth and (b) State agencies

DCO Programme: (a) and (b) Not applicable

RDLO Initiative: (a) and (b) Not applicable

DNAWS: (a) and (b) Not applicable

NAAP: (a) and (b) Not applicable

Group Train New Apps TIP: (a) and (b) Not applicable

VETPPP: (a) and (b) Not applicable

AWT: Administrative arrangements for VET programmes for people with a disability are the responsibnility of State and Territory traning authorities

Not known

JPP: Providers can refer young people with disabilities to specialist service providers in the government and non-government sectors.

POEM: (a) and (b) The coordinator can refer the applicant to other appropriate agencies if the applicant can not be supported by the project. The coordinator is expected to have knowledge of appropriate areas for referral both in the local community and for State and Federal agencies.

Transitions project: (a) and (b) Not applicable

 

Centrelink, as the gateway to Australian Government employment and pre- employment services, has the ability to refer job seekers who are ineligible for DEWR funded employment and prevocational services to other programmes for which they may be eligible.

DEWR funded services are encouraged to facilitate the referral of job seekers identified as needing other services to the most suitable service to address their needs. This may be either arranged directly between service providers or be managed with the involvement of Centrelink.

Disability Open Employment Services

People who are not eligible for disability open employment services would usually be referred by Centrelink to Job Network if they do not have ongoing support needs. People may be referred to a supported employment, or business service, if they cannot work in the open labour market or to a State funded day options programme. Disability open employment services can refer job seekers to other services where they are eligible, eg for a vocational rehabilitation programme.

Vocational Rehabilitation

People who are not eligible for vocational rehabilitation services because they do not need such a programme, or do not have the capacity to gain from such a programme, would usually be referred by Centrelink to Job Network. CRS Australia can refer job seekers to other services where they are eligible, eg for ongoing support from a disability open employment service.

Job Network

Job Network members can make referrals to complementary programmes where a job seeker is eligible. Complementary Programmes are programmes that assist job seekers with vocational, motivational or foundational skill barriers. The assistance may improve the job seeker's job prospects and address employment barriers. Depending on the programme, Job Network members can refer job seekers either directly to the programme or via Centrelink.

Complementary Programmes include programmes funded by Commonwealth and State/Territory Governments such as Work for the Dole, Language, Literacy and Numeracy Programmes and youth employment programmes. Complementary

Job Network members can also refer to disability open employment and vocational rehabilitation services.

Personal Support Programme

People who are assessed as not eligible for PSP would usually be referred by Centrelink either to a disability open employment service, vocational rehabilitation or Job Network. PSP participants can start with a Job Network, disability open employment or vocational rehabilitation service while still participating in PSP. Participants may also be referred to state government services while in PSP.

JPET

Young people who do not meet the eligibility criteria for JPET are referred by JPET providers to other more suitable services. This may include Centrelink when the young person is in receipt of a government payment, a SAAP provider, the Job Network, non-government organisations; or other Commonwealth/State programme.

13. Are there any mechanisms for referrals to (a) other Commonwealth or (b) State agencies if the Department is of the view that the applicant may be entitled to additional benefits administered by another agency?

Centrelink makes determinations on most of the programs offered. Where a customer fails to meet the eligibility criteria for any particular payment of service the customer will be referred to the most appropriate assistance.

Case managers working with clients become aware of broader individual circumstances through the vocational rehabilitation process. Where an individual is not accessing available services or benefits, the case manager will link the individual to the appropriate service.

For example:

a) Centrelink Financial Advisory Services

b) Liaison with State agencies eg Home and Community Care (HACC) funded services such those providing aids and equipment, where these services are seen to be more appropriate in accordance with the Disability Services (Rehabilitation Programs) Guidelines 2002.

Mechanisms for referral to (a) Commonwealth and (b) State agencies

DCO Programme: (a) and (b) Not applicable

RDLO Initiative: (a) and (b) Not applicable

DNAWS: (a) and (b) Not applicable

NAAP: (a) and (b) Not applicable

Group Train New Apps TIP: (a) and (b) Not applicable

VETPPP: (a) and (b) Not applicable

AWT: Administrative arrangements for VET programmes for people with a disability are the responsibnility of State and Territory traning providers

JPP: Yes, providers can refer young people with disabilities to specialist service providers in the government and non-government sectors.

POEM: (a) and (b) Benefits are not applicable

Transitions project: (a) and (b) Not applicable

Not aware of any formal mechanisms

See 12 above.

14. If there are mechanisms for referral, to which Departments are applicants most often referred?

Assistance provided by Department of Employment and Workplace Relations

Common referrals within the Commonwealth would be to Centrelink for access to other support services. Referrals are also commonly made to HACC funded agencies such as those providing aids and equipment, programs such as Green Reserve and Community Job Program (CJP), and Job Network Agencies (for job matching programs).

Departments most often referred to

DCO Programme: Not applicable

RDLO Initiative: Not applicable

DNAWS: Not applicable

NAAP: Not applicable

Group Train New Apps TIP:Not applicable

VETPPP: Not applicable

AWT: Administrative arrangements for VET programmes for people with a disability are the responsibnility of State and Territory traning providers

JPP: Statistics not available

POEM: Not applicable

Transitions project: Not applicable

Not aware of any formal mechanisms.

Job Network

The Complementary Programmes to which job seekers are most often referred are Work for the Dole, Language, Literacy and Numeracy (a Department of Education, Science and Training programme), and Queensland Community Jobs Plan offered by the Queensland State Government.

15. Where would people with disabilities or employers find information about these programs?

Centrelink has various avenues for providing information. These include but are not limited to:

Centrelink Offices

Centrelink Call Centres

Centrelink Website

Centrelink publications and letters

Centrelink agent network (for rural and remote customers)

Centrelink kiosks

For people with either acquired or congenital disabilities, many would have either a primary or secondary treating agency, eg community mental health social worker, HACC agency, with whom they have ongoing involvement from which access to other information can be gained. In addition Centrelink is a source of information. Internet searching for information is now a common source of information for many CRS Australia clients, with the Australian Government "JobAble" and "Workplace" websites being relevant.

Employers can also access information from the above sites For people who sustain workplace injuries, the state workers compensation schemes provide comprehensive information on work related issues. Chambers of Commerce may be a source for some resources, as are community based agencies such as health centres and medical practitioners.

Information source

DCO Programme: www.adcet.edu.au/rdco

RDLO Initiative: www.adcet.edu.au/rdco

DNAWS: www.newapprenticeships.gov.au

NAAP: https://naap.dest.gov.au

Group Train New Apps TIP: http://grouptraining.dest.gov.au or www.grouptraining.com.au

VETPPP: http://pts.dest.gov.au

AWT: Specific initiatives for people with a disability in VET may be found on websites of State and Territory Education and Training departments.

JPP: http://jpp.dest.gov.au/

POEM: DEST website

Transitions project: DEST website

Information is available from the agency HR area. The Certified Agreement is also available on our Internet site at www.apsc.gov.au

People with disabilities or employers would find information about these programmes on www.workplace.gov.au and www.jobable.gov.au .

Centrelink and service providers have promotional material and other information available in their offices.




[1] Pensioner Education Supplement is as at 1 April 2005.

[2] Number of customers referred to the job network from Disability Support Pension.

[3] These figures are based on the 2004 calendar year.