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Vinnies says job plan puts dollars before disabled

The St Vincent de Paul Society has spoken out about its concern over a Federal Government trial initiative that rewards Job Network Providers with up to $6000 for every Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipient placed in a position.

Last month Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews announced the scheme in which job placement agencies will be rewarded for placing pensioners on disability support in paid employment. He estimated that as many as 150,000, or nearly one in four of the 668,000 disabled pensioners could be moved off welfare, saving the government $1 billion a year in payments.

Vinnies strongly supports the goal of shifting people with disabilities into work. But in a statement released yesterday, the Society argued that this particular Government plan "puts cost savings before people".

It says the plan fails to recognise that the care of many disabled people requires more than finding them a paid job.

The statement says the focus of the initiative should be on the multiple needs of people with disabilities.

"It is na´ve to imagine that these needs are going to disappear with participation in paid work."

Vinnies describes the current focus as "ill-advised" and "unworthy of any government that claims to take seriously its duty of care for its citizens".

"The policy focus should be on the needs of people with disabilities rather than on the fiscal needs of the government."

The statement spelled out some elements in the lives of people with disabilities that Vinnies thinks should receive more policy attention from the Government. These include adequate carer access, improved personal mobility support, and life-skills training.

"Until there is a carefully planned program, which addresses these and the many other potential problems, the St Vincent de Paul Society is concerned that the current strategy may result in many people being worse off on the long term."

"Job Plan Puts Dollars Before Disabled": Vinnies (St Vincent de Paul Society 12/2/04)

St Vincent de Paul Society
For Disability Support Pension recipients (Australian Government Employment Services)
Employment & Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews | Proven track record on assisting job seekers with disabilities (Departmental Media Release 13/1/04)
Disabled assured on pensions (The Age 13/1/04)
Australian government seeks to cut off disabled pensioners (World Socialist Web Site 24/1/04)

13 Feb 2004