Abbott to privatise disability employment programs

THE Abbott government will privatise its government-run disability employment programs, with a tender already released to hand over almost half its services to the private sector.

A statement from Assistant Minister for Social Services Senator Mitch Fifield released Tuesday confirmed 47% of the government's disability employment services were open for tender.

Demand for the program, which manages services to help people with a disability get training and jobs, is continually rising, by 8000 participants a month, the statement said.

The tender, released on Tuesday, is the first move in a budget plan to open up the program to "full competition for the first time".

Sen Fifield said the removal of the program from government would be "good news for people with disability and non-government employment service providers".

"Full competition for (the) tenders will enable more participants to receive quality support and sustainable employment outcomes by promoting high performance and continuous improvement in employment services providers," he said.

"This measure is all about giving jobseekers with disability confidence that their provider has demonstrated their ability to achieve high-quality employment outcomes and that they therefore have the best chance possible of finding and keeping a job."

The privatisation of the services comes as the government released a new information paper on the "purchasing approach" for the program, to help guide tenderers to pitch for funding.



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