Deaf Australians To Have Equal Access To Employment

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8th April 2009, 07:03pm - Views: 1052

Deaf Australians to Have Equal Access to Employment

The Australian Federation of Deaf Societies (AFDS) extends its congratulations and appreciation to the Federal government and the Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O'Connor MP in response to the announcement yesterday that Disability Employment Services will have restrictions and caps removed. The announcement was made at the Australian Financial Review Skills Conference in Sydney by Mr O'Connor.

Alex Chapman, the Policy & Strategy Coordinator for AFDS has said that "AFDS is delighted that the calls for the Auslan for Employment program to be unrestricted have been listened to, and now answered. It represents a change towards better outcomes for Deaf and hard of hearing Australians to attain and maintain employment". These barriers have been a key priority that AFDS has presented to the Federal government and Mr Chapman is pleased with the outcome. "This announcement follows an extensive period of consultation, and we are glad that the recommendations we have presented to the Federal government have been agreed to."

Previously, there were limits on the Auslan for Employment program, which provides Auslan (Australian Sign Language) interpreting for employment-related matters. "The previous restrictions -most notably a 12-month cap of five thousand dollars per person - had been an enormous barrier for Deaf Australians to not only achieve employment but to maintain it as well. We had cases of some Deaf professionals using the cap in just a matter of weeks, as a result of the cost of interpreting services", Mr Chapman said. However, AFDS is confident that the lifting of time restrictions and funding caps will mean future benefits for not only Deaf Australians, but for the economy and Australia as a whole.

"It is important that the Federal government takes a positive approach to disability employment, especially considering the current job market, to ensure that there is equal access for all people with a disability to employment. This new policy should be seen as a strong investment into the efficiency and development of the Australian economy in the future." Mr Chapman said.

The new expansion of Disability Employment Services (DES) will mean more equitable access to the Auslan for Employment scheme. Mr Chapman said "we are looking forward to seeing the early results of the new policy, and we welcome and congratulate these changes, as we believe it shows an investment in Australia's future."

Further contact & media enquiries:
Alexander Chapman
Policy & Strategy Coordinator
Ph: 02-9893-8555
E: [email protected]

SOURCE: Australian Federation of Deaf Societies

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