Budget 2015 summary

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The information below outlines the announcements that accompanied the Budget 2015. Over the coming weeks we will be publishing the details related to each measure. 

I would like highlight the BETTER PATHWAYS initiative in the Employment section; we have been advocating for this initiative for over 12 months and it is pleasing that Minister Morrison and DSS have accepted our policy initiative and funded it! Congratulations Paul Cain.

For more information:

For more information about Department of Social Services’ Budget measures, visit the Department of Social Services website (www.dss.gov.au).

For information about the 2015 Budget, visit the Australian Government budget website (www.budget.gov.au).

Employment

People with disability contribute much to the workforce. They generally stay in jobs longer and take fewer sick days. The Government wants more people with disability to have to opportunity to work.

The 2015 Budget includes four measures to better support job seekers with disability and employers. These measures deliver a $25 million package over four years to begin shaping disability employment toward a new model in 2018.

The Government is also investing $17 million on business development to improve the viability of Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs). This is part of a $189 million ADEs additional support package.

These initiatives will be delivered from 1 July 2015 until June 2019 to assist ADEs to be ready for the full roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 2019.

The funding will enable ADEs to use professional services to help them improve their sustainability and prepare for likely higher wage costs over time.

JobAccess Gateway

A new central information entry point will streamline employment services for job seekers with disability and potential employers.

It will provide a new online and telephone service with information about Government employment programmes and direct access to Disability Employment Services (DES).

The Gateway will streamline services and programmes and create a virtual disability employment marketplace through a new online and client relationship service centre.

Extensive support already exists to help potential employers hire people with disability, including funding for workplace modifications and wage subsidies. A lack of awareness about these supports in the broader job market, however, is a barrier to getting more people with disability into jobs.

The Gateway measure will cost $9 million over three years.

Better pathways

The Government will also provide better opportunities for young people with significant disability at a critical point in their lives, when they leave school.

Through a $2.2 million investment, up to six month’s DES support will be provided while a young person’s participation in a state or territory funded post-school employment or Transition to Work programme is finalised.

Empowering people with disability

Through a $14 million investment (from 1 January 2016), eligible employees of Australian Disability Enterprises will have access to DES provider support for up to two years while maintaining their ADE jobs.

Currently, people with disability must resign from their ADE to receive assistance from a DES provider.

This means an additional 300 people per year in ADEs will benefit from DES assistance to find a new job, doubling the numbers who already take up this opportunity under the existing arrangements.

This measure will remove barriers for people with disability in supported employment to move to open employment.

Employment benchmark

A new 23-hour employment benchmark for DES will be introduced.

This will remove an unintended consequence in the DES programme that allowed service providers to claim participants were working for 23-29 hours per week while placing them in a job of only 15 hours per week.

This will address jobseekers concerns of not getting a job with sufficient work hours and will lift expectations of DES service providers, helping people with disability reach their full employment potential and reduce their reliance on income support.

Key facts

  • The Government is providing $17 million to help improve the viability of Australian Disability Enterprises, securing future employment opportunities for people with disability.
  • The four disability employment measures will cost an estimated $25 million over four years.
  • The Job Access Gateway will be operational from 1 July 2016.

National Disability Insurance Scheme

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new way of providing support for eligible people with permanent and significant disability, their families and carers.

The NDIS is currently being trialled across Australia and the Commonwealth and states are working to finalise details of the roll out of the NDIS to fully cover participating states and territories by 2019-20.

The 2015-16 Budget includes measures to effectively support the delivery of the NDIS as it rolls out across the country and a measure for early transition beyond the trial in
New South Wales.

NDIS full scheme technology

Before the Government can roll out the NDIS, the correct information and communications technology platform needs to be in place.

That’s why a new information and communications technology (ICT) system will support delivery of the NDIS when it replaces the current interim solution, which was never intended to service the Scheme long term.

The interim solution is not easily scalable to support the NDIS at full scheme and does not provide the full range of capabilities needed to support people with disability, their families and carers.

The new system will support about 460,000 participants when the NDIS is fully rolled out as well as service providers. It will provide enhanced data to the Australian Government and state and territory governments and streamline NDIS processes for people with disability.

The new system is estimated to cost $143 million over four years, with the Department of Human Services managing its implementation and integration.

Scheme roll-out

A carefully designed and staged roll out is critical to the national success of the NDIS.

The Australian and NSW Governments have signed an agreement to deliver disability supports for up to 2,000 young people up to 18 years of age in the Blue Mountains and Penrith from July 2015.

This agreement underscores the Australian Government’s commitment to introduce the NDIS in a carefully planned way across Australia, while also providing further opportunity to test features of the NDIS in advance of the ramp up from July 2016.

The Government has earmarked $20 million in 2015-16 so young people with disability in the Penrith and Blue Mountains area, and their families, can access information, referrals and capacity building through the National Disability Insurance Agency from July 2015, and individualised packages of support from September 2015.

Transfer of the Sector Development Fund

Responsibility for the Sector Development Fund (SDF) will transfer from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to the Department of Social Services.

This transfer will allow the NDIA to focus on its key responsibility of implementing the roll-out of support packages for people with a disability eligible for the NDIS.

This measure also includes some refinements to the transition arrangements for Commonwealth programmes in NDIS trials and the My Way trial in Western Australia, at an overall cost of $3.8 million.

Key facts

  • The new ICT system is estimated to cost $143 million over four years.
  • The Department of Human Services will manage its implementation and integration.
  • Young people with disability in the Penrith and Blue Mountains area of NSW can begin preparing for the NDIS from
  • July 2015.
  • The SDF facilitates development of the disability support sector in preparation for the new way of delivering disability services in the context of the NDIS.

Education

 

Students with a disability will receive the extra support they need with a record $1.3 billion being provided in 2015–16, and more than $5 billion over 2014–17 through the funding loading for students with a disability.
From 2016, for the first time ever, Commonwealth funding will be informed by the National Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) so that all students with disability are funded on the same basis, regardless of the state or territory in which they live.

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