Australia increases funding for disability employment support

Auslan interpreting services and workplace modifications are among the changes to provide more for Australians with disability in the workplace.
By: | April 14, 2023

Australia has moved to increase employment opportunities for Australians with disability by increasing funding for Auslan services and building modifications that make workplaces more accessible.

The announcement marks the first changes to the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) caps in 13 years and aims to provide additional resources to help people with disability access the support they need in the workplace.

Auslan is the majority sign language of the Australian Deaf community. Under the changes, the funding cap for Auslan interpreting services for work-related activities, including remote interpreting, captioning, and note-taking, will double from A$6,000 (US$4,070) to A$12,000 (A$8,140) annually. The building modifications cap will also be doubled from A$30,000 (US$20,350) to A$60,000 (US$40,700) to assist in funding lifts, wheelchair-accessible toilets, access ramps, and automatic doors.

Amanda Rishworth, Australia’s Minister for Families and Social Services, said, “With this funding increase, jobseekers can be confident they have the financial assistance to access the Auslan interpreting services they need and that any modifications required to their future workplace are able to be carried out.”

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“Previously, employers sometimes chose not to proceed with a modification if they couldn’t afford to cover the gap once they hit the A$30,000 (US$4,070) limit and we want to ensure that barrier is removed. No one should miss out on a job interview, test or information session because they could not access Auslan interpreting services or their employer couldn’t afford the modifications required.”

Australia has over 16,000 Auslan users across the nation, and 4.4 million Australians with disability, of whom 2.1 million are of working age.