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Disability Orgs Cautiously Optimistic

13 May 2015 at 11:28 am
Xavier Smerdon
Disability organisations have welcomed a more “moderate” Federal Budget but have expressed their concerns that 12 specialist organisations representing over 200,000 Australians with disability have not been funded.

Xavier Smerdon | 13 May 2015 at 11:28 am


Disability Orgs Cautiously Optimistic
13 May 2015 at 11:28 am

Disability organisations have welcomed a more “moderate” Federal Budget but have expressed their concerns that 12 specialist organisations representing over 200,000 Australians with disability have not been funded.

The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) said reforms to employment and the ongoing commitment to the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) were particularly welcome.

“AFDO welcomes the ongoing commitment to the NDIS and a raft of proposed employment measures which support both business and jobseekers’, AFDO CEO Matthew Wright said.

“These include dedicated funding to develop a new disability employment model, the proposed development of the JobAccess Gateway and employment reforms which are broader than disability, including $1.2 billion in national wage subsidies. These additions to the Budget are constructive solutions for people with disability seeking employment.”

Wright said some of the best aspects of the Budget for people with disability were measures which will enable them to concurrently access targeted employment support while completing post school transition to work training and to transition out of Australian Disability Enterprises into mainstream employment.

“This decision has been well overdue and is a direct result of the specialist representation by organisations run by people with disability and their families, who have provided the business case and evidence for these changes over many years,” he said.

“While this decision will significantly improve transition to mainstream employment for people with disability, it is disappointing that these employment reforms come on the back of the defunding of twelve specialist people with disability organisations.”

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) also welcomed the Budget, which it called “modest but promising”.

“For some time, PWDA has called for a comprehensive jobs plan, and tonight we see the beginnings of this plan,” PWDA President Craig Wallace said.

“TheJobAccess Gateway could be a promising beginning for a new system which is more responsive and accountable to people with disability and employers”.

“We especially welcome the provision of funding to allow people employed in Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) or workshops, to access support from a Disability Employment Services (DES) provider for up to two years to assist with securing employment in the open labour market.  

“Currently people can only access DES support by leaving an ADE. This new measure will remove a deterrent facing people with disability seeking open employment as an alternative to an ADE.”

Wallace said he “offers cautious support” for the new higher outcome measures for DES providers who will now be funded on the basis of providing at least 23 hours of work to people who have been assessed as having this work capacity.  

“We do however, think it will be important that DES providers are appropriately resourced to be able to provide job opportunities in a tightening employment market,” he said.

A leading Victorian disability services provider, the Oakleigh Centre, said it will adopt a “wait and see” approach to what changes would be made to the employment landscape for people with disability.

CEO, Therese Desmond, said the organisation was particularly pleased with a $143 million commitment for a new Information and Communications Technology (ICT) system to support full delivery of the NDIS,.

She said however there is concern over the ambiguity surrounding proposals for disability employment support.

“The Government has promised a review into employment services for people with a disability and from this we would hope to see initiatives that will increase employment opportunities,” Desmond said.

Desmond welcomed the Government’s commitment to a new ICT system to support the NDIS rollout.

“The NDIS is the most significant disability reform in the sector’s history – any support to ensure the rollout is seamless and easy to implement, particularly for people with disability, and their carers, will be welcomed,” she said.

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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