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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Phoenix Disability Employment Service Flying High

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today announced funding of $385 000 to one of the largest providers of disability employment in South Australia, the Phoenix Society Inc. in Adelaide.

‘The Phoenix Society plays a vital role in providing disability employment services and assistance to more than 370 people at its four outlets – three in Adelaide and one in Whyalla,’ Senator Patterson said.

‘This grant will allow the Phoenix Society to buy a new docking machine for its timber products division at Gepps Cross, relieve storage pressure on its industrial services operation at Elizabeth, purchase a direct addressing machine for its mail and printing business at Torrensville, bring in strategic planning expertise and upgrade its computer systems.

‘More than $25 million has been allocated by the Howard Government during the current and previous financial years, to improve the viability of disability employment services. This is part of a $161 million commitment to disability employment across the country.

‘The Phoenix Society funding is part of the Howard Government’s national program to undertake business reviews of disability employment services. The business reviews have helped drive improvements with funding being used to acquire business advice and equipment, support management infrastructure and business restructuring.

‘Under the program more than 200 grants have been made to organisations across Australia.

‘It has been a key Howard Government priority to help people with disabilities to participate meaningfully in the wider community, by providing jobs and support for workers and their families.

‘People with disabilities want the opportunity to participate fully in –the economic and social life of the community,’ said Senator Patterson.

The Australian Government announced this year, an additional $99 million assistance package, Security, Quality Services and Choice for People with a Disability, designed to deliver quality services and good working conditions to the 17,000 Australians with a disability working in business services. This includes direct assistance to ensure business service employees have job security and businesses remain viable.