Regular readers will know that I am not a great fan of Australian Disability Enterprises, our flash term for sheltered workshops, where appalling acts of abuse such as this:http://www.perthnow.com.au/business/news/disabled-workers-pay-of-2-an-hour-predatory/story-e6frg2qu-1225894657597 occur.
This abuse is presently happening at sheltered workshops across the country.
We are to blame (this is all of us) since we have allowed the economic rationalists and ideologically driven mandarins of Canberra to determine policy and these bastards have little interest in disability issues, no knowledge of the support needs of their client base and care even less.
Just look at the pathetic rationale in the article and catch the even more disgusting response from the funding body: "A spokesman for the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs said Ms Smith had the right to request a reassessment of her wage with CRS but had failed to do so". - So now we know. It's Karen's fault.
This woman has a disability. She is powerless against her employer. She will be unaware of her rights and even less able to action them.
I think if you are going to be totally mean spirited you should at least have the courage to stand up in the face of media scrutiny and attempt to tough it out.
Seriously a win for Karen and that's great and what about the folk that aren't in the media spotlight? There are many folk that either have their hours cut (incidentally, bet you quids this is what happens to this lass now) or are 'reassessed' to suit their hosting organisations cash flow or business needs.
For many years I have strongly suggested that the contradictory instructions given by government to Australian Disability Enterprise operators to both make a profit (at all costs) and continue to provide inclusive and client focused service be changed.
It's a simple question that goes to the heart and purpose of this program:
Do ADE's (save time) exist to provide employment for people with higher support needs or are they to be stand alone businesses?
If they are for people with high support needs then fund places and allow the mainly charitable institutions that work in this sector to carry out their missions.
If they are not then some suitable vocational alternative needs to be created.
In this question the answer should be obvious and this issue should end.
However, there is a second question:
Are ADE's a means of transition to open (and better paid) positions?
Presently it is either impossible to achieve this movement as persons cannot be registered with 2 programs at once. Therefore rather than the old, "work in sheltered employment until an open employment service finds you work/ return should you lose your open employment job", the present system says, 'leave your security and cross your fingers the open employment service 1. Finds you work quick and 2. You stay there.
There's a Parliamentary committee presently discussing the issues around ADE's. The majority of participants are CEO's of sheltered workshops.
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