State & territory jurisdictional reports: Activity relating to mental health reform prior to the implementation of the Fourth National Mental Health Plan

2. Coordinate the health, education and employment sectors to expand supported education, employment and vocational programs which are linked to mental health programs

Page last updated: December 2010

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

  • Australian Disability Enterprises are commercial businesses that provide employment for people with disability. Australian Disability Enterprises provide employment for people with disability and operate as a commercial business.
    There are approximately 329 Australian Disability Enterprise outlets across Australia, providing supported employment assistance to more than 20,000 people with moderate to severe disability who need substantial ongoing support to maintain their employment.
    Australian Disability Enterprises enable people with disability to engage in a wide variety of work tasks such as graphic design, printing, metal fabrication, packaging, timber and furniture manufacture, production, recycling, screen printing, horticulture, garden maintenance and landscaping, hospitality, cleaning services, laundry services and food services. Employees of Australian Disability Enterprises enjoy the same working conditions as those in the general workforce.
  • The Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) and Mental Health Respite (MHR) initiatives link individuals, families and carers with appropriate support mechanisms, including employment, education and housing. Top of page

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

  • New Disability Employment Services will be introduced from 1 March 2010. The new services will provide flexible, tailored assistance for eligible job seekers with disability, including mental illness. There will be two demand driven employment services:
    • Program A will provide services to job seekers who require the assistance of a specialist disability employment service but are not expected to need long term support in the workplace and
    • Program B will be available to job seekers with a permanent disability and an assessed need for more regular, long term support in the workplace.
    Assistance will be available through Job in Jeopardy services to people with disability already working but whose jobs are at risk because of their injury, disability or health condition.
    Job in Jeopardy services will be available from both Program A and Program B providers.Job in Jeopardy assistance is aimed at people who need help to retain their current employment. People can access Job in Jeopardy assistance by directly approaching a disability employment service provider and requesting help.
    A new Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) has been created to remove red tape and simplify access, and to broaden the range of support available. Under the EAF, funding will be available to employers, employment service providers and individuals for workplace modifications, including Mental Health First Aid Training. Top of page
  • Job Services Australia is a network of generalist and specialist employment service providers contracted by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Job Services Australia provides a single entry point to a range of employment services for job seekers, including those with disability or a mental health condition. This includes the development of an individual Employment Pathway Plan, tailored to a job seeker's individual needs, including job search, training and work experience.
  • Employer engagement: The Australian Government is undertaking measures to encourage employers to recruit and retain people with mental illness. These measures include the JobAccess service, Employment Assistance Fund and research into mental health and employment.
  • $6.8 million was provided in the 2009-10 Budget for a Disability Support Pension Employment Incentive Pilot. The Disability Support Pension Employment Incentive Pilot will provide 1000 DSP recipients with opportunities for sustainable jobs of at least 8 hours a week for at least 26 weeks.
  • The Family-centred Employment Project (FCEP) has been designed to assist jobless families move into education and work. The FCEP will focus on the family as a whole and test a different approach to service delivery which addresses the educational needs of jobless families, supports their capacity for employment and their social inclusion.
  • The Innovation Fund is a competitive grants program designed to address the needs of the most disadvantaged job seekers through funding projects that will foster innovative solutions to overcome barriers to employment which these job seekers face.
    The objective of the Innovation Fund is to fund innovative place-based solutions to address barriers to employment for groups of the most disadvantaged job seekers. These groups include, but are not limited to, people in areas with entrenched disadvantage, the homeless and those at risk of homelessness, people with mental health conditions, Indigenous Australians, and job seekers in jobless families. Top of page
  • At its 30 April 2009 meeting, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a Compact with Young Australians to increase young people's engagement with education and training pathways.
    The Compact with Young Australians is part of the National Partnership on Youth Attainment and Transitions that will also drive longer term reform to ensure that young people stay engaged in education and training and attain a year 12 or equivalent qualification.
    The National Partnership includes the implementation of a National Youth Participation Requirement which will be in place in all jurisdictions from 1 January 2010. This includes a mandatory requirement for all young people to participate in schooling until they complete Year 10 and participate full-time in education, training or employment, or a combination of these activities, until the age of 17.
    The Youth Connections program will be delivered under the National Partnership. It builds on the success of some of the existing programs and streamlines support for young people.
    Youth Connections will provide an improved safety net for young people who have disconnected from education or their community, or are at risk of disengaging. It will be flexible, offering a combination of case-managed support as well as linkages with wider community activities to help young people to re-connect with education or training and build resilience, skills and attributes that promote positive choices and wellbeing. Youth Connections will address barriers to transitioning through education and training to employment, including mental health issues and other personal barriers.
  • The National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) program—which is a network of 31 officers across Australia—helps people with disability, including mental illness, make the transition from school and further education to employment. The program targets barriers that make it difficult for people with disability to enter and complete post-school education and training and then obtain employment.NDCOs helps to build linkages between a range of school, post-school, employment and community organisations including Disability Employment Service providers, registered and group training organisations and Australian Apprenticeship Centres to improve training and employment for people with disability. Top of page

Human services portfolio

  • CRS Australia currently coordinates health, education and employment strategies for people with mental illness as part of its delivery of Disability Employment Services for DEEWR.