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Employer roundtable for people with disabilities.



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THE HON KEVIN ANDREWS MP

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS MINISTER ASSISTING THE PRIME MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE

Media Release

13905

Employer Roundtable For People With Disabilities

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Kevin Andrews today attended the inaugural meeting of a new Employer Roundtable for People with Disabilities.

The Roundtable is meeting in Melbourne this morning and will complete an Employer Demand Action Plan by December 2005.

It is being chaired by Mark Bagshaw, Manager of IBM Australia/New Zealand Accessibility Centre.

Other members include executives from some of Australia’s leading organisations including McDonalds, Westpac, Toyota, Woolworths, Telstra and Sara Lee Household & Body Care.

Mr Andrews said the Howard Government understands that many people with disabilities want to work and is keen to find ways to improve opportunities for them to make the most of their abilities.

"The Employer Roundtable for People with Disabilities has an important role to play as preliminary results from recent research by my Department indicate that of businesses who recruited staff in the last 12 months, only 22% currently employ at least one employee with a disability" Mr Andrews said.

"It is critical to engage employers in these reforms and to articulate the business case - that employing people with the right skills makes good business sense.

"Several businesses that have a strong interest in the well being and employment of people with disabilities, agreed to participate. I believe the Employer Roundtable will be well placed to provide best practice directions for government and businesses, large and small."

Mr Andrews said the formation of the Roundtable is boosted by an allocation of $30 million in the 2005 Federal Budget to increase employer demand for jobseekers with disabilities to increase workforce participation.

This includes a 10 fold increase in the funding for the Workplace Modification Scheme which reimburses employers for the costs involved in modifying the workplace or purchasing special equipment for new workers with disabilities.

MEMBERS OF EMPLOYER ROUNDTABLE FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Mr Mark Bagshaw

(Chair)

Manager,

IBM A/NZ Accessibility Centre

Mr Bob Correll

Deputy Secretary

DEWR

Ms Lynelle Briggs Public Service Commissioner

Ms Heather Ridout

CEO

Australian Industry Group

Mr Jock Noble

CEO

Diversity at Work

Ms Katie Lahey

CEO

Business Council of Australia

Ms Suzanne Colbert

CEO

Employers Making a Difference

Mr Tony Steven

CEO

Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia

Mr Steve Balzary

Director

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Mr Bernie O’Connor

Divisional Manager Human Resources

Toyota Australia

Ms Niki Kesoglou

Manager Diversity, People & Performance

Westpac Bank

Mr Tony Backshall

Human Resources Operations Manager

Woolworths Limited

Ms Colleen Cuthbert

Group Manager Employment Policy and Practice

Telstra

Mr Guy Russo

CEO,

McDonald’s

Ms Leonie Clyne

Managing Director

Angus Clyne Australia

Ms Kerrie Parker

CEO

Sara Lee Household & Body Care

Mr Michael Ebejer

CEO

Elynwood PTY Ltd

Susan Hughes

Subway Franchisee

Mr Geoff Pawsey

Manager Employment Services

City of Boroondara

Ms Avril Henry

Chairperson

The National Diversity Think Tank

For further information contact:

Russ Street 0417 044 712

13/05/2005