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Great response to the National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy.



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The Hon Brendan O'Connor

Minister for Employment Participation

The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Parliamentary Secretary For Disabilities And Children’s Services

02 July, 2008

Joint Media Release

Great response to the National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy

The Government has received more than 300 submissions into a strategy to boost the number of people with a

disability and/or mental illness in the workforce.

The Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O’Connor and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities

and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten, are developing the National Mental Health and Disability Employment

strategy.

Submissions to the strategy, which will outline clear and practical steps the Government can put in place to

overcome the barriers which make it harder for people with disability and mental illness to gain and keep

work, closed this week.

As well as receiving written submissions, Mr O’Connor and Mr Shorten have chaired public consultations in

13 towns and cities across Australia with more than 740 people attending.

"Both the written submissions and the public consultations sessions have identified positive and practical

ways to help address barriers to gaining and retaining employment, so that we can get more people with a

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disability and/or mental illness to active in our workforce," Mr O’Connor said.

"There was a clear recognition of the enormous contribution people with disability and/or mental illness make

to a workplace and we need to dispel the myths that some employers have about difficulties or costs associated

with employing a person with a disability."

Mr Shorten said the strategy will provide a national approach to helping more people with a disability or

mental illness get and keep a job.

"It’s plain from both the consultations and submissions that a great number of people around the country

have given this issue a huge amount of thought, and their views will be valuable in informing this strategy," Mr

Shorten said.

Other points highlighted during the consultations included:

z better support for education and training of people with disability and/or mental illness;

z greater engagement with employers, explaining the benefits of employing people with disability and/or

mental illness; and, z improving coordination of services across local, state and federal governments.

Internationally, Australia has low levels of employment participation for people with a disability and/or

mental illness.

The National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy is due to be released by the end of the year.

The discussion paper is available at www.deewr.gov.au/employmentstrategy

Media Contact:

Campel Giles 0407 972 900

Cath Sullivan

0448 025 042

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