Disability Employees Protest Funding Cuts
24 May 2010 at 1:28 pm
Disability Service Providers head to Canberra in an attempt to reverse funding cuts from the Federal Budget.
Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE’s) which provides supported employment for over 300 employees, has urged the Prime Minister and Federal Minister Bill Shorten to address concerns about the cut in funding from FaHCSIA to supported employment for people with disabilities.
Frank Francis, the CEO of Sunnyfield, a leading NSW disability service provider says this funding cut highlights the failure of the Federal Budget to provide for any indexation to support people with disabilities in employment.
A number of CEOs of ADE’s and their peak body, National Disability Services will meet with Bill Shorten MP, the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, this week to express their concern about the cut in funding from FaHCSIA.
Francis says coming at a time of ever increasing costs and decreased work opportunities due to the global financial crisis, this situation will place in jeopardy the ongoing employment of many people with a disability who work in ADE’s across Australia.
He says despite that there is growing concern about addressing the needs of people with disabilities, the Government is now asking the most vulnerable in society to bear an unfair portion of the load.
He says State Governments (including NSW) have recognised the need for a fair indexation rate for State services, with increases around 3.25% provided for the past year. A similar increase for ADE contracts with Government would seem appropriate and fair.
Francis says Sunnyfield Enterprises’ objective is to be financially independent, to ensure that they are able to continue providing employment for some of the most vulnerable people in the community.
He says supported employees do, however, require assistance to enable them to participate in the workforce, and to cover the cost of this, support provided by FaHCSIA is a critical element.
He says as costs continue to rise, ADEs are already struggling to provide adequate, viable and sustainable support which our employees are entitled to expect, and the effective funding cut, which will result from lack of indexation, is a challenge which may be unachievable.