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G & R Wills and the Atrium Hotel Northern Territory's employers of the year



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P R IM E M IN IS T E R

UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL MIDNIGHT SUNDAY, 8 SEPTEMBER 1991

FOR MEDIA 9 SEPTEMBER 1991

JOINT STATEMENT WITH THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER FOR HEALTH, HOUSING AND COMMUNITY SERVICES, BRIAN HOWE

G & R Wills and the Atrium Hotel Northern Territory's Employers of the Year

G & R Wills and the Atrium Hotel are the Northern Territory's winners of the Prime Minister's Employer of the Year awards.

They were selected for the awards because of their outstanding contribution to the employment of people with disabilities.

As State winners, they are now eligible for National Employer of the Year, which will be announced at a reception at Parliament House on 12 September.

The Prime Minister's Employer of the Year Awards are designed to encourage employers help Australians with disabilities. They recognise employers who provide significant work opportunities and support for people with disabilities, many of whom have never worked, or have worked only in sheltered workshops.

Invaluable assistance to employers of people with disabilities is provided by Commonwealth Government sponsored employment agencies and regional units of the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service. Services include on-the-job training and support, and advice on

job redesign.

Employment on the open labour market gives these people the opportunity to prove themselves as valuable, productive members of the community, and enables them to build confidence and independence.

Under the awards, employers are divided into two categories - those that employ more than 100 staff, and those that employ less. National and State awards are made under both categories.

Initiated last year by the Federal Department of Health, Housing and Community Services, the awards are being sponsored by Australian Airlines, Business Review Weekly and the Australian Chamber of Commerce.

COMMONWEALTH

PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

1991 PRIME MINISTER'S EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR AWARDS

BACKGROUND

The Prime Minister's Employer of the Year Awards were established in 1990 to give recognition to the important role played by employers in helping people with disabilities to gain independence and self esteem.

Their contribution has made it possible for a growing number of people with disabilities to become fully productive members of the workforce - earning a real wage and doing a worthwhile job. Working together, with co-operation and commitment, employers and employment agencies are helping people with disabilities to become

fully integrated into the community.

The fifteen State and Territory award winners have been selected from 111 nominations made by employment agencies, regional units of the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service and individuals around the country. The nominations were reviewed by a panel comprising representatives of the Disability Advisory Council of Australia, Business Review Weekly, Confederation of Australian Industry, the ACTU and the Department of Health, Housing and Community Services.

Atrium Hotel

When the Atrium Hotel in Darwin took on three workers with disabilities it provided training for all its staff to help them understand intellectual disability and learn how to communicate with deaf people.

For the young Torres Strait Islander working in the kitchen and the two housemaids, one of whom is profoundly deaf, it has meant the difference between isolation and integration.

Similarly, flexibility of tasks and hours during the early stages of their employment meant a successful start and happy productive staff.

G & R Wills

One might be forgiven for thinking that the job of head storeperson for a general wholesaler would be fairly demanding, particularly for an intellectually person with disabilities. But it's posing no problems at all for G & R Wills. Indeed the firm's

storeman was promoted to the job after four years valuable service to the firm.

He is one of three of the firm's 23 staff which have intellectual disabilities. The other two are currently employed as storepeople, in different areas of the business. Their tasks range from packing and organising stock to operating a tape binding machine and driving a forklift.

G & R Wills has employed these people through the Northern Territory's competitive employment training program. While these employees may not reach optimum working speeds, the firm appreciates their other qualities: good work skills and

reliability.

The head storeman won the position against other employees and, with extra secretarial support to help him with limited literacy, has justified the management's decision to give him the job.

For information: Michele Hendrie 06. 289 7219 Patsy Meyer 06. 289 7531