Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

$700,000 for Barkuma disability enterprise building upgrade

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten, today announced $700,000 in funding to the Australian Disability Enterprise Barkuma, for refurbishments to its factory in Campbelltown, in Adelaide.

Mr Shorten said the funding would allow Barkuma to improve the premises for its 60 employees at Campbelltown, which would enable it to grow and provide better opportunities for workers with disability.

Barkuma employs over 140 people at eight sites across Adelaide and is also a provider of disability services to 1000 people.

Mr Shorten said Barkuma had a proud history of providing work for people with disability and the funding boost would allow it to continue this valuable role.

“A lack of work opportunities is one of the main barriers that stops people with disability being full participants in our society,” Mr Shorten said.

“When companies buy a product or service from an ADE like Barkuma they are also promoting equality for people with disability.

“A fulfilling job does not just deliver financial independence, but a sense of belonging and the chance to experience the satisfaction and camaraderie that comes from work.

“Organisations like Barkuma make sure those benefits are available to people who would otherwise not be employed.”

The South Australian Government has transferred the title of the Campbelltown site to Barkuma, and provided an extra $200,000 to assist with renovations.

“This is a great example of the Federal and State Governments working together with an ADE to provide better opportunities for workers with disability,” Mr Shorten said.

The Australian Government funds over 200 ADEs which provide work for more than 19,000 people with disability.

The Australian Government has recently announced an extra $4.5 million in funding for ADEs in the 2010/11 financial year, bringing the total amount to over $204 million.

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.