In 2012 only 53% of people with a disability were working or looking for work. This compares to 83% for people without disability. For people with a psychological disability, the rate is even lower. Only 29% are working or looking for work. Disability Employment Services are funded by the Australian Government to support people with a disability to find and keep jobs.
The Australian Government commissioned the Disability Employment Taskforce in 2015 to seek feedback from the disability sector to inform possible changes to Disability Employment Services from 2018. The discussion paper New Disability Employment Services from 2018 describes what some of these changes could be.
As argued by the NSW Mental Health Commission in Living Well, workforce participation is an essential part of the recovery journey for people with a mental illness. Australian Government funded Disability Employment Services are important partners in realising the work-related aspirations of people with mental illness and reform to help these services become more person-centred and aligned with recovery principles are welcomed. These aspirations will most likely be met by the implementation of supported employment models that are proven to work for people with mental illness. Employers are also important partners and must take up their responsibility for inclusive and accessible workplaces.