Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Funding boost and less red tape for Australian Disability Enterprises

Joint Media Release with:

  • Bill Shorten MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services, Parliamentary Secretary for Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction

Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) will receive an additional $4.5 million in 2010-2011 to allow them to continue to support over 19,000 workers with disability across Australia who would not otherwise be able to find work.

The Australian Government funds 600 businesses operated by 206 organisations across the country to provide supported employment opportunities for people with disability.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin said Australian Disability Enterprises had a vital role providing work and training for people with a disability.

‘The Government understands that ADEs are under significant pressure which is why we are providing an additional $4.5 million to support them continue to employ people with a disability during difficult economic times.’

The extra funding is in addition to $9 million provided in 2010-11 to maintain a temporary increase made by the previous Government.

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten said ADEs made a huge difference in the lives of people with disability.

‘A job is the key to social inclusion for people with disability. It provides financial independence, the chance to make a contribution to society and the camaraderie of the workplace,’ Mr Shorten said.

This additional funding, allocated from within the disability services budget, brings total Australian Government support for ADEs to more than $204 million in 2010-2011.

The Government will continue to listen to and work with the ADEs to support them in providing benefits to people who would otherwise be excluded from the workforce.

The Government will also introduce a 12-month red-tape reduction trial that will reduce the amount of time Australian Disability Enterprises spend assessing the support needs of their employees through Disability Maintenance Instruments, by only conducting re-assessments under certain circumstances, rather than every two years.

Under this trial, re-assessments need only be undertaken by an Australian Disability Enterprise where there is a significant change in the worker’s health status, stamina or physical capacity; where there is a profound change in disability that affects work performance or where there is a significant change in the worker’s personal circumstances.

The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs will also be able to request an assessment by an ADE, as will workers and their families.

‘This decision will deliver significant savings to the sector and make it easier for Australian Disability Enterprises to continue the great work they do giving people with disability the benefits of meaningful employment,’ Mr Shorten said.

Ken Baker, the Chief Executive of National Disability Services, the peak association representing non-government disability services, has welcomed the measures.