Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Awards recognise employers of the year

Federal Member for Richmond and Minister for Community Services, Larry Anthony, today congratulated the Prime Minister’s 2000 Access Awards winners, held in conjunction with the Gold Medal Access awards at Parliament House, Canberra last night.

Mr Anthony extended special congratulations to businesses both within and bordering his northern NSW electorate for their involvement in the Prime Ministers Access Awards.

“Congratulations go to Coolangatta Tweed Ten Pin (Tweed Heads NSW) for its finalist nomination, and it is particularly pleasing to note First Pacific Credit Union was awarded a national Gold Medal Access award for its Lismore premises,” Mr Anthony said.

“Every employer and business nominated for the awards deserves congratulations for having the foresight to look beyond disability, to find a wealth of skill and ability, and to find a ready market for their facilities and services.

“This event shows just how the combined efforts of employers, nominating agencies and job seekers themselves can get some outstanding results.

“As the Minister responsible for Commonwealth-funded disability employment support agencies, I wholeheartedly endorse their efforts to help create a society where people with disabilities are active, valued members of the community,” Mr Anthony said.

Prime Minister’s Employer of the Year Awards

National Winners

Small Business

Dandy Pine (VIC)

Growing up with a brother with a disability prompted Dandy Pine owner, Bruce McLean to open up his workplace to employees with disabilities.

The furniture manufacturing business consists of a small team of eight, five of whom have either physical or intellectual disabilities. The whole team is involved in all aspects of the furniture manufacturing process including frame making, drawer assembly, sanding, routing and dovetailing.

Large Business

HM GEM Engines (VIC)

HM/GEM Engines is one of Australia’s leading engine re-manufacturing companies employing 200 workers, 21 of whom have a disability.

Production Manager Graeme Smith says the 21 employees with a disability are treated no differently from any other workers – both in terms of work expectations and advancement opportunities.

Mr Smith says some of his workers have tried unsuccessfully for many years to secure a full time job and once they are employed at HM/GEM they are offered a job for life.

Higher Education Institution

Murdoch University (WA)

Murdoch University is ranked among the best teaching campuses for public universities, and has won two awards in the Prime Minister’s Australian Awards for University Teaching

It provides permanent, part-time, full-time and award wage employment for nearly 40 people with disabilities, including vision and hearing impairment, autism, epilepsy and paraplegia. The positions held by employees with disabilities cover the full spectrum of university work from lecturing and research to web-page development, ground maintenance and clerical.

Commonwealth Government

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

The ABC currently employs 76 staff with a disability, representing 2.2% of its workforce.

The ABC has implemented a wide range of programs to support their program of employing people with disabilities, including a disability video and training package called employABILITY, which is designed to address discrimination, and encourage an environment of inclusiveness.