Minister Rishworth press conference in Adelaide


AMANDA RISHWORTH: People living with a disability deserve the best support to get employment and that is why the Albanese Labor government today will be discontinuing poor performing Disability Employment Services. After a significant amount of work with the Department, it's become clear that about six per cent of Disability Employment Services are not providing the level of support to ensure those living with a disability can get into a job. So that is why we have taken the steps to discontinue funding for these services. This will affect about 15,500 people living with a disability who will be transitioned to better performing services where they live. We see supporting people with a disability getting into employment as critically important. There are many people living with a disability who actually want to get work, but have found barriers to getting work. That is what these disability support services are meant to be helping. Unfortunately, we've seen a number of poor providers and poor services that have not been delivering. So we will be transitioning these services out of the system and making sure that people living with a disability get the support they deserve.

JOURNALIST: Can you give us an idea of how these particular services are failing the people that are involved?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: There's a number of examples that were highlighted in the Royal Commission about people living with a disability. For many of them, they have not been achieving outcomes in terms of jobs for people living with a disability or people with a disability have only been put into short-term employment - when the government subsidies end they no longer have a job. What we want to see is Disability Employment Services placing people with a disability into long-term jobs that deliver real outcomes for them. These services that will no longer be receiving funding from the Commonwealth have not been delivering real job outcomes. They've been regularly, on an ongoing basis, not providing the service that's required and that's why we're discontinuing them.

JOURNALIST: Have these providers been notified or they'll start to be notified soon?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: These providers have been working with our Department, the Department of Social Services for some time. So for many of them, they have not shown improvement and they will be notified from today that their services will be discontinued.

JOURNALIST: Just how broken is the system when half of the Disability Employment Services aren't working as they should be?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: I am concerned that we have a proportion of Disability Employment Services that are not delivering the outcomes that people with a disability deserve. People with a disability deserve decent outcomes when it comes to employment and I will be holding a roundtable in Canberra tomorrow to make that point. But we need the employment services working so I'll be working very hard working with the employment services to deliver good outcomes. I must point out there are some great Disability Employment Services delivering good outcomes for people living with a disability. It's not good enough that their reputation is dragged down as a result of poor performers.

JOURNALIST: How will there be enough providers to help people with a disability to find a job if you are shutting down some or all of the services of 52 providers?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: We are shutting down eight providers in total. People living with a disability will be transitioned to other high performing service providers where they live. We believe that there is enough capacity in the system to properly support those 15,500 people that will be transitioned to other services. The total percentage of services that are being discontinued is six per cent. So these are the worst performing services and we will be able to very confidently transition those people to other services near where they live.

JOURNALIST: How are these providers scattered across Australia? Are they sort of concentrated in one state over the other?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: These poor performing providers and poor performing services are across the states and territories. And of course there are as I said many high performing services that are doing a good job. People living with a disability that are with poor performing services will be transitioned to high performing services and we will be working with them for that because quite frankly, people living with a disability deserve the best possible service and support to get a job.

JOURNALIST: How do you ensure there aren't similar problems going forward?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: We will keep working across the board about evaluating and monitoring the service provision in the Disability Employment Services. That's been an ongoing task and will continue to be done. My message is that we won't put up with poor performance. We want to see decent services delivering outcomes for people living with a disability. That's why we're taking action today and that's what we'll continue to do.

JOURNALIST: Just on another matter, should any investigation of the Morrison ministry examine the role of the Governor-General?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: The questions around the actions of the former Prime Minister are questions that need to be asked by former cabinet ministers and former government members. It is clear today through Barnaby Joyce's interview that he still doesn't get it. The former government doesn't get it. They didn't get it then and the former government doesn't get it now. The questions before the Australian people really need to be answered by the former government.

JOURNALIST: Do you expect the former Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be referred to the Privileges Committee?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: That'll be a matter for the Parliament and for the Privileges Committee. I think what the Australian people want is answers. I think they want to understand who knew what and when and they want to know how this happens. How can there be the secrecy and this lack of accountability by the Liberal National Government in Canberra? Thank you.