Over 4.4 million Australian's live with disability. There are higher rates of poverty and more than a third are reliant on government pensions as their main source of income. Slightly more than 50% of working aged people living with disability are employed.
Australian Disability Enterprises are funded through NDIS but support only 20 000 of the over 600 000 accessing the scheme. The minimum wage for employees in the Supported Wage System is just $2.90 per hour. If you are employed through these schemes, you apparent deserve a lower super rate than other Australians.
"The key problems that we face in the employment sector for people living with disability, is not just the social and physical barriers but the devaluing of people through legislation and regulation that allows for a system to legally discriminate and marginalise an entire population", said Mr Night today.
"Why is it that a marginalised population that has higher rates of poverty and chronically low employment rates is targeted to receive less Super compared to other Australians?
"We must see key action to ensure pathways for employment like any Australian instead of stagnate options that often do not lead to anything more than rock bottom.
"It is hard enough for people that live with disability struggling to decide to apply for roles given the blatant discrimination out there. It is too easy to see 'disability' and subtly add those people to the 'do not call back list'. Once we do get a job, can’t we at least have an even playing field?
"Calling some settings sweat shops and demonising group support employment and skills development settings is a cheap shot for many great programs, but we cannot lose sight that some of these settings do resemble the worst types of employment settings. It is not all good or all bad.
"We must prioritise and fund a range of settings and pathways for employment, or we risk doubling down on ensuring we keep certain populations in poverty and living with barriers to success.
"By short-changing an already underpaid population it is a double whammy when they face retirement with even less resources and options.
"I am surprised we don't hear more from unions on this, but I guess you can’t afford the union fees on $2.90 an hour.