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Promises, promises: where is Labor's disability employment strategy?

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Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP

Minister for Workforce Participation 09 October, 2007

Media Release

Promises, promises: where is Labor's disability employment strategy?

The Labor Party has failed to give any attention to disability employment, Minister for

Workforce Participation Dr Sharman Stone said today.

Minister Stone said the ALP has been promising a disability employment strategy since November last year

and despite repeated promises to do so, still have not presented their policy.

When asked what Labor’s plans were to help people with a disability into the workforce all workforce

participation spokesperson Penny Wong could say was:

‘We will have more to say at a later date about these issues…’

Senator Penny Wong, AM Programme, RN 9 October 2007

We shouldn’t be surprised by this response when for almost a year they have been promising to release a


‘So over the coming months I will have a lot more to say about Labor’s national strategy for disability


Senator Penny Wong, Speech, ACE Disability Conference, 8 June 2007

‘Surely the time is up. People with a disability deserve to know what the Opposition plans to do for them,’

Minister Stone said.

‘The Labor Party is running around the country demanding the Prime Minister call an election but they

haven’t even released their disability employment strategy that they have been promising for months. That is

no way to present yourself as an alternative Government.

‘Given the Labor Party typically says ‘me too’ and then echoes Coalition policy, I suggest they could do worse

than simply endorsing the Howard Governments’ excellent Welfare to Work reforms and disability support



‘In clear contrast, the Coalition Government developed a Disability Employment Strategy in conjunction with

the Disability Advisory Group (DisAG). Its focus is on encouraging people with a disability to participate in the

workforce to their capacity so that they can share the benefits of paid work or and in some cases reduce their

welfare dependence.’

The development of strategies to encourage workforce participation by people with a disability is one of the

key employment goals of the Howard Government.

‘Our specialised network of employment providers and the Job Network have placed close to 48,000 people

with a disability into work in the last financial year,’ Minister Stone said.

People with a disability are eligible for a mobility allowance to help them get to interviews or work. The

Howard Government also encourages employers to take on people with a disability through funding for

workplaces to be modified for people with a disability, wage subsidies and the supported wage system. Auslan

interpreters are also available for the hearing-impaired to attend job interviews and for work related meetings

or training. There is also a one stop shop telephone and internet advisory service to help employers hire and

retain people with a disability. Job Access has information about all government employment services

available to assist employers, people with a disability and their work colleagues.

For further information contact:

Liz Rodway 0421 587 207