NDS supports Shorten's social enterprise plan
The peak body for disability service providers, National Disability Services (NDS) is supporting Bill Shorten's plan to direct government contracts to businesses that employ Australians with disability.
NDS CEO Chris Tanti said, “Disability Enterprises employ over 21,000 people with significant disability, who otherwise would be excluded from the workforce.”
Enterprises have been criticised in the past because of their wage levels and congregate service model. However, all Disability Enterprises pay wages under an industrial award (currently under review) and supported employees choose to work there. Both the Federal Coalition and Labor support Disability Enterprises.
“To secure their future and generate jobs, Disability Enterprises require funding certainty and procurement of their goods and services by government agencies,” Mr Tanti said.
NDS has advocated for employment – open and supported – to be an easy and attractive choice for participants of the current Federal Government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
“We believe that there should be a range of employment options on a continuum for people with disability. One size will never fit all. We agree with the call to remove barriers to work for people with disability, and do not support unfair and discriminatory practices – but there is a need for enterprises to cater for people with more limited employment opportunities,” Mr Tanti said.
“The evidence of social participation and economic benefits for people with or without disabilities related to employment is clear. Employment options that accommodate all needs is important. Enterprises continue to innovate by reviewing their business models and creating cultures that are more inclusive to all.”
Mr Tanti said the next steps are to keep working on fair wages and giving employment options to a range of people with disability.