Disability employment outcomes and strengthened evidence-based approaches to disability support were key highlights from the 2024-2025 Budget.

A new specialist disability employment program commences on July 1, 2025. It replaces the current Disability Employment Services program and will help people with disability, injury or illness find and maintain sustainable employment and includes a flexible service tailored to individual circumstances.

The program is also intended to benefit employers with access to improved supports to hire people with disability. Employers will receive a new wage subsidy that will pay up to $10,000 for each participant to ensure they are well-supported in the workplace.

Providers will also be able to assist more people with disability with their employment and career goals, with eligibility expanded to an estimated additional 15,000 people a year, including those with less than eight hours a week work capacity and volunteers not receiving income support.

A Disability Employment Centre of Excellence will also be established to develop best practice evidence-based information and training to help providers deliver effective employment services.

The National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline and Complaints Resolution and Referral Service will receive funding to ensure service continuity and support people with disability to access fair, impartial and independent advice and to voice their concerns regarding the delivery of supports.

Responding to the Budget, People with Disability Australia president Marayke Jonkers said the income support payment was a step in the right direction, but more is needed.

“We tentatively welcome the establishment of a NDIS Evidence Advisory Committee to provide advice to government about what works for participants, but this will only be successful if it’s led by people with disability who are NDIS participants. And while $20 million has been pledged to commence designing the new navigator role, we will be watching closely to see that the design process is done right,” she said.

However, there was disappointment the government has failed to prioritise people with disability in the housing measures announced.

National Disability Services CEO Laurie Leigh welcomed some measures in the budget, but expressed disappointment at the lack of targeted action to ensure disability service providers can continue to support people with disability.

“Inadequate pricing and spiraling costs have already seen many good quality providers closing their disability services in the past 12 months. With ongoing uncertainty surrounding key elements of the NDIS and disability sector reform, clear signals are needed from government to boost the confidence of the sector,” he said.