Boosting disability employment in the tourism industry

  • Joint media release with:
  • The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, Minister for Social Services

The Albanese Labor Government will continue its commitment to boosting employment opportunities for people with disability, focusing on jobs in the tourism sector.

Twelve organisations across Australia will share in $3 million to promote greater workforce participation for people with disability to work in the visitor economy.

An outcome of the Jobs and Skills Summit in September 2022, the Disability Employment Tourism Local Navigators Pilot will test new ways to connect job seekers with disability to meaningful tourism jobs.

Under the Pilot, organisations will receive funding for projects designed to support small and medium tourism businesses in recruiting, retaining and promoting employees with disability.

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 placed-based Local Navigators would help to address enduring barriers to employment for people with disability.

The employment and labour force participation rates of people with disability have not improved for over 20 years, and remain significantly lower than for those without disability. The Albanese Labor Government is focused on closing that gap.

“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.”

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.

Some of the projects being funded include:

  • Hospitality Disability Network WA Inc to connect at least 30 tourism and hospitality employers in and around Perth with resources and practical supports to build their capacity to sustainably employ people with disability.
  • On-Q Human Resources Limited 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.
  • Project Etico Australia Limited to deliver the ‘Blue Mountains Tourism Disability Inclusion Project' in the Sydney-Outer West and Blue Mountain region, including the delivery of interactive workshops, individualised support, coaching, peer support and disability-led capacity building activities for employers.

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

It will be evaluated as part of the Albanese Government's aim to build the evidence base for disability employment.

Feedback on grant applications is available at Community Grants Hub.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: 02 6277 7420
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555