Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Haigh’s Chocolates and Eurest give people with disabilities a fair go

Today I am pleased to announce the winners of the Prime Minister’s Employer of the Year Awards for South Australia.

Haigh’s Chocolates has won the South Australian small business category.

Haigh’s Chocolates is a long established family business and is a fine example to other South Australian businesses of how people with disabilities can be a great asset to the company. Importantly, they have practices in place to give people the extra support they may need like a ‘buddy system’ that works very well.

Haigh’s employs 30 people, of whom ten per cent have disabilities. Buoyed by their success, Haighs’s aim is to increase that figure to 25 per cent of their factory staff.

The state winner in the large business category is Eurest (Australia). Eurest has also won the Western Australian large business award.

Eurest is a large catering company and believes that employing people with disabilities strengthens team bonds and increases moral.

Eurest currently employs 21 people with disabilities across their network in South Australia. They have a diverse range of work across the organisation ranging from cooking, cleaning, serving food, and undertaking stores and maintenance duties.

The longest serving employee with a disability at Eurest has been there for over 5 years. This is a testimony to the company’s commitment to its staff and demonstrates that employing people with disabilities is a sound business decision.

The Prime Minister’s Employer of the Year Awards, which recognise small and large businesses in each state and territory that employ people with disabilities, have been running for 11 years. The number and quality of nominations has been increasing each year.

One in five Australians has a disability. Many are able to work, want to work and simply need to be given the chance to show what they can do. Haigh’s Chocolates and Eurest are two employers who have given people with disabilities that chance and are reaping the rewards.

The Prime Minister’s Employer of the Year Awards is a great opportunity to showcase Australian businesses that are leading the way, and to encourage others to follow suit.

The Prime Minister, Mr John Howard will announce the National Winners of the Employer of the Year Awards at Parliament House on Monday, 26 August.