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DES Reform

Kellie will give a detailed update on the 2025 DES Reforms and the development of a new Specialist Disability Employment Program. The Australian Government has announced that a new specialist disability employment program will commence on 1 July 2025. The new program will replace the current Disability Employment Services (DES) program. Kellie will discuss the proposed changes and emphasis that the Government is committed to ensuring that no Australian with disability is left behind, and that people with disability, injury or a health condition have equal opportunities to gain employment. The new specialist Disability Employment program will deliver on the Government’s vision for a stronger and more inclusive Australia for people with disability.


Kellie Spence

Kellie Spence

General Manager – Disability Employment Group, Department of Social Services

Kellie’s role includes policy development and program management of employment supports for people with disability. She brings to the role a wealth of experience across the public sector, particularly in employment services, leading policy reform and implementation.

Kellie led the policy and implementation of Transition to Work, a highly successful youth program that supports early school leavers in their transition to the labour market. She led policy design of employment services to align with the recommendations of an independent expert advisory panel and worked closely with providers to conduct a large scale pilot of the new model. Kellie is known for thinking innovatively and was a key architect of the Points Based Activation System which gives individuals greater choice in how they will meet their mutual obligations to look for work whilst on income support.

Kellie is passionate about evidence-based policy and working with users and across stakeholders to improve services and outcomes for participants and employers.