With only a couple of weeks to go before the federal election (is it me or is this the worst ever?) a window of opportunity opens to actually do something that makes a difference in the lives of people with disability - let's open up real opportunities for full participation in our workforce to the thousands of people presently sentenced to poverty.
How could that happen?
First of all let's set an ambitious numerical target for the number of people presently on disability benefits we want to see in independent employment.
How does 50,000 in the first year sound?
Rules will need to change but only stupid rules designed by people ignorant of ether the capacity or desire of people with disability (we don't consult them anymore - haven't for years).
The agencies that can achieve this will need to have a strong client focus and I believe these either still exist (despite recent catastrophic government business allocations) or could be quickly turned through enlightened self interest.
Changes will need to include:
1. A clear numerical goal for the Disability Employment Service Industry (as above)
2. Recognition of level of participation achieved - an 8hr part time role presently is treated the same as a 38hr job - truly, I know that's absolutely ridiculous and pathetic but that's the deal - go figure! - this improvement is easily achieved through adjustments to the remuneration attached to positions found: make an 8hr job 1/5th the rate of a 40hr job and the problem would melt away overnight.
3. Allow job seekers to register with multiple agencies; that would mean minimal or no payment for registration, instead transfer the money paid for registration to outcome achievement.
4. Count job starts from conclusion of any subsidy used. This would prevent agencies buying make work positions. I have previously spoken to the negative effects of wage subsidy on job retention and participation for people with disability
5. The end of meaningless 'Star Ratings' - the marketplace created by the actions outlined above will sort out 'Star" players - the rest will fold.
Won't happen because our politicians are advised by people that have no faith in the ability of people with disability but these changes would work and are in the interests of the Commonwealth of Australia and all of its citizens - people with a disability most of all.
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