Concerns from the disability sector

I’ve focused a fair bit in the last year or so on seeking the views of people working for advocacy and service organizations aimed at assisting people with disabilities. The following issues are ones that have been raised in various ways by many of them.

A major concern which is regularly raised is unnecessary difficulties for people with disabilities in accessing employment, including the so-called ‘welfare to work’ changes that started coming into force in the middle of last year. Whilst some extra support in finding employment has been provided in some circumstances, there is also further financial hardship being inflicted on people. This applies not just to those who still can’t find jobs but who have their income support payments reduced. Even some who find part-time or intermittent full-time work end up worse off, due to the extra costs involved in travel and the loss of some of the assistance with health costs which now have to come more out of their own pockets.
There has been a shift from disability agencies dealing with the employment of people with disabilities, with this activity often now being done by job networks. This is creating a problem as job networks are paid for every person that they enter into the workforce. Those who can be harder to place, which can include people with disabilities, are not only potentially seen as less ‘profitable’, but can also end up being put to the back of the line.

Many care agencies are telling me they are having difficulty competing with the State health system on Nursing and other professionals’ wages. They are finding that Queensland health is taking many of their trained nurses. Some organisations in the not for profit sector say they are falling behind in what they can pay nurses by up to 25%. This is making it difficult for them to not only recruit but to keep the nurses that they have spent money training. The same issues are arising with counsellors and other professionals.

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  1. Yes, all it is intended to do is create paranoia, bitterness and social divisiveness; and that is all, apart from satisfying the sadistic tendencies of a certain small group running society, that it is intended to do.

  2. We must also remember that people with disabilities have other costs, such as paying people to mow lawns, do housework etc.

    Some might be able to do at least some of these chores themselves if they are not working, but this can quickly change once their physical capabilities are being used up outside of the home – leaving them in pain – and with less time to do anything.

  3. The government policy towards the disabled is essentially Social Darwinist in its orientation. This government does not value people as people but rather as productive units in the service of the economy. If you don’t meet that requirement you are regarded with suspicion and contempt. As the literature on disability clearly attests, people with disabilities are typically attributed with a wide range of “defects” not directly attributable to their condition. That is, the government policies towards the disabled demonstrate the very prejudices that the literature makes very clear presents formidable barriers to disabled people wishing to lead productive and happy lives.

    I’ve had enough, I now have clear evidence that in my case the Comm Rehab Service has not only discriminated against me, it also has broken the law, breached its charter, and at present the local manager is refusing to address my concerns. Time for war and I’m looking for a politician to support my case.

  4. John H:

    You’re certainly right.

    When I commenced work in the Department of Social Security in 1985, this is what was written on the door of the Personnel Section:

    “Human Resource Management”.

    I felt as if I had been reduced to the status of a paper clip.

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