As part of the Australian Government’s commitment to boosting employment opportunities for people with disability, a new pilot program was announced to promote greater workforce participation in the tourism sector.

Twelve organisations across Australia will share in $3 million to promote greater workforce participation for people living with disability, to work in the visitor economy.  Under the twelve-month Pilot program, organisations will receive funding for projects designed to support small and medium tourism businesses in recruiting, retaining and promoting employees with disability.

BUSY Ability, a Disability Employment Services provider, were successful in securing funding to provide 100 small tourism operators in the Moreton Bay area with workforce planning services, diversity in recruitment training, strategies to recruit and retain the right people with disability, and locally targeted business resource packs.

Local Navigators will act as a connector between tourism businesses and employment service providers along with people with disability. They will help to reform workplace cultures and employment practices along with building the confidence of employers to employ people with disability.

Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell said the projects would help address workplace and skills shortages and improve the resilience of Australia’s tourism industry.

“In the wake of COVID-19, we are committed to ensuring that small and medium businesses have the resources they need to thrive,” Minister Farrell said.

“This means bridging the gap between businesses and jobseekers and giving more people the chance to secure meaningful employment in a diverse and dynamic sector.”

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the place-based Local Navigators would help to address enduring barriers to employment for people with disability.

“Through drawing on their extensive knowledge, experience and professional networks, Local Navigators will help hundreds of small to medium businesses improve their capability and confidence in supporting employees with disability,” Minister Rishworth said.

“We are excited to work with our Local Navigators over the next year to help improve systems and services for both jobseekers and employers.

“This Pilot will help to build inclusive, informed workplaces across the visitor economy and will help to ensure that jobseekers with a disability are not being left behind.”

Stacey Turnbull, CEO of BUSY Ability, stated, “We’re excited for the opportunity to support Moreton Bay tourism operators with human resourcing, diversity, and skills needs for the sector, and career opportunities for people living with disability.”

“BUSY Ability has been supporting businesses with diversity and inclusion and people living with disability into meaningful careers for over 30 years. We are proud to be selected as part of this Pilot program and look forward to working with Moreton Bay tourism operators, Disability Employment Services operators, and community members”.

The Pilot will work with small and medium businesses in priority employment regions including Western Sydney, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast, North-Eastern and Western Melbourne, Adelaide and mid-north South Australia, Perth, Illawarra South Coast, Gippsland and Cairns.

The Pilot will commence in early July 2023 and will continue for a period of twelve months.

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