18 June 2024

Disability employment reform is underway with a new specialist disability employment program to commence on 1 July, 2025. Its goal is to remove the red tape for providers supporting participants and to boost access for participants looking for sustainable employment.

On the back of the government’s commitment of an additional $227.6 million to the new program in the 2024-25 Federal Budget, Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said there is a “clear vision” and that it will better-support people with disability to enter the workforce.

“A critical element of the new program will be a doubling down on improving the quality of services employment providers deliver,” she said.

“We can’t keep doing the same thing and expect to shift the dial on improving employment opportunities for people with disability.”

From July next year, this program will replace the existing Disability Employment Services (DES) program.

For providers, the new program aims to reduce the administrative red tape of supporting people with disability find, prepare for, and maintain sustainable employment.

For participants, the new program will have expanded eligibility, tailored support based on individual circumstances, and will have no participation limit.

As a sector leader in employment services in NSW, Ability Options is happy to hear the new program aims to be more supportive and inclusive, allowing providers to put participants first.

Ability Options’ Chief Operating Officer for Specialist and Employment Services Mark Chaffey said the announcement of putting participants first was welcome news.

“We’re pleased to read the program will have less red tape and put the focus back on supporting participants through high-quality, tailored support services,” he said.

“We are optimistic this new program will result in a stronger and more inclusive employment sector in Australia, allowing Ability Options to continue its commitment to increasing the representation of people with disability in our workforce.”


According to the Department of Social Services (DSS), the new program will provide tailored, individualised, and flexible support to participants, based on their life circumstances.

The program factsheet highlights several changes, including:

  • Extended support for more participants: more people can access support, including an extension of support to people with a work capacity of less than 8 hours per week and those not on an income support payment.
  • Improved user experience: everyone’s employment journey is different. The new program removes the two-year service limit, reducing administration.
  • Services that reflect the diverse range of pathways to employment: the program improves quality of service, ensuring support is tailored to circumstances, including pre-employment, job search or in-employment. There will also be new intensive and flexible services options.
  • Higher, single value wage subsidies: a single wage subsidies program of up to $10,000 per person will be available, with simplified administration.
  • Continued support for participants in employment: the program provides support to participants and their employer when they are in employment to ensure they’re supported to succeed in the long term.
  • System improvements: a modernisation of technology will support ongoing quality, monitoring, and evaluation of the program.
  • Building trust between providers and participants.

As always, we will update our participants more on what this means for them as we learn more about the new program.

Do you know someone who could benefit from our services?

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