The ‘Welfare to Work’ process created some real barriers for person with a disability.
One of the most onerous was/is (until 8th September) the procedure for accessing DEN (Disability Employment Network) services like NOVA.
If a person in receipt of the DSP (Disability Support Pension) decided they might like to give work a try, DEN services referred them to a JCA (Job Capacity Assessment). It was a very real possibility that this assessor might remove the person’s DSP status, returning them to ordinary unemployment benefit.
The difference between these 2 payments is about $60 a fortnight. This might not seem like a great deal of money but if you are used to spending it you’ll notice when it’s gone.
Here’s the important point: this is before you have found either a job or whether you have the ability to remain employed.
No wonder so many people said, ‘thanks, but no thanks’!
We were encouraged to be deceptive about the chances of losing DSP.
I am proud that we refused.
Today, skill shortages threaten Australia’s productivity. Under ‘Welfare to Work’ there has been a 36% reduction in the number of persons with disability accessing disability employment services (like NOVA).
People who have a disability want to work. People with disability represent an underutilised pool of talent and skill.
Today’s marvellous announcement that the onerous JCA process is to be replaced (from September 8th) with a new streamlined referral process that does not hold the threat of losing DSP entitlement will open up the opportunity of meaningful work for tens of thousands of Australians.
I’ve been saying good things about the new Minister Mr Brendan O’Connor.
This is the very best news and I offer my personal thanks and congratulations to the Minister for this initiative.
This is truly a happy day!
(If you want to see the whole content of the Minister's press release check our 'NEWS' section)
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