Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Delivering work opportunities for people with disability

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Jan McLucas, today visited one of Tasmania’s oldest laundry businesses, the highly successful Australian Disability Enterprise, BlueLine Laundry.

The Hobart-based company, which processes 50,000 kilograms of laundry each week, employs over 100 people with disability each year through its laundry Disability Enterprise program and Open Employment program.

Its high-tech machinery means that BlueLine can fully integrate its workforce of people with disability with able bodied people, creating a diverse and enriching work environment for all staff.

The state of the art equipment enables the company to achieve a high production turnaround, making it both commercially strong and an ideal workplace for supported employment.

Senator Jan McLucas said “BlueLine plays an important role in the community, providing work opportunities, training and personal development to local people with disability.”

“Having a job makes a significant difference in the lives of people with disability; it provides the opportunity to contribute to society, financial independence and the chance to meet new friends.”

“Blue Line Laundry is a great example of an inclusive supported employer. I congratulate them on their continued support of and enhancing the lives of people with disability in Tasmania.”

Senator McLucas said Blue Line Laundry boasts some particularly high achievers among its supported employee workforce.

Craig Hansen, one of BlueLine’s supported employees, was recently selected to represent Australia in the Special Olympics in Athens in 2011, while two other supported employees were recently awarded the Charles Mansfield Achievement Award for excellence in work performance and community spirit.

The company also boasts above-average performance among its supported employees. The hours worked and wages earned by people with disability are above the national average for Australian Disability Enterprises, with 67 per cent of BlueLine’s supported employees earning more than $100 each week.

Employing around 19,000 people with disability across Australia, ADEs give people with disability the opportunity to have jobs in a range of areas including catering, gardening, building furniture and printing and packaging.

Operating in Hobart’s New Town community, BlueLine is one of the state’s most experienced laundries, dating back to 1893 when it was known as Bayview Laundry.

As the first laundry in Tasmania to convert to gas, BlueLine is also a leader in environmental controls and production efficiencies, using clean energy to power its operations.

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring people with disability have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

The Gillard Government increased funding for Australian Disability Enterprises by $4.5 million in the 2010/11 financial year, bringing total funding to $204 million.

We are developing a long term vision for Australian Disability Enterprises and workers who need supported employment through to 2020. This is a commitment under the Government’s National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy.

The Government has appointed an Advisory Committee to guide development of the long term vision.