Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Awards for Excellent Business Services

Bill Shorten, is calling for nominations for the inaugural Business Services Excellence Awards.

“Australians with a disability are contributing an enormous amount to economic growth, and their engagement in the workforce is benefiting the individuals concerned, their families and community,” Mr Shorten said.

“These Awards will recognise and encourage the extraordinary efforts of people with disability, and their employers, in making their business service one of the best in the country.”

There are around 215 organisations operating 365 business service outlets across Australia, with over 22,000 people with disability assisted last year.

Services provided include catering, gardening, building furniture, metal fabrication, servicing the mining industry, printing and packaging.

Under the Disability Employment Assistance Program, business services provide supported employment assistance to people with significant disability who need substantial ongoing on-the-job support.

There are five award categories, with two sub-categories – small and large business services:

  • Business Service Innovation Award: Business services demonstrating new and innovative business practices supportive of the development of high quality, sustainable employment for people with disability
  • Business Services Business Partnership Award: Business services working in partnerships with other businesses and their communities to offer high quality, sustainable employment opportunities for people with disability
  • Business Services Achievement Award: Business services that encourage the full participation of people with disability in work through high quality employment conditions
  • Supported Employees Team Award: A team of employees with disability who have demonstrated an outstanding contribution to their organisations’ success
  • Support Workers Team Award: A team of support workers who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to supporting, developing and encouraging employees with disability in the workplace

“In recognising Australia’s best business services, we can contribute to the National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy, which will examine steps the Government can put in place to overcome barriers for people with disability and mental illness to gain and retain work,” Mr Shorten said.

“I encourage Australians to nominate any deserving service they know of, to show the rest of the country their contributions across many sectors.”

Nominations close on 20 June 2008, and presentations will take place at the National Disability Services Employment Conference on 21 July 2008.

To nominate or enquire about the awards: