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Greens seek improved approach to disability services

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 30 Nov 2011

The Government needs to improve its approach to the support and assistance being provided for people living with a disability, the Australian Greens said today.

"A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers has shown a high level of poverty and low employment rates among people with disabilities. We urge the Government to rethink some of its recent policy decisions, which I believe will exacerbate these problems,” said Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on disability services.

"By continuing with current policies, more and more people will be condemned to live in poverty.

"Recent changes to the accessibility of the Disability Support Pension and its eligibility tables will see more people being placed on the lower Newstart Allowance payment.

"Our current system fails to provide people with disabilities a guaranteed adequate income.

“For those people with disabilities looking to enter or re-enter the workforce, there needs to be a stronger Government contribution to addressing the barriers they face in finding employment.

"The Government needs to work with employers and jobseekers alike to address issues such as accessibility, education, training and transportation.

"A Senate Committee Inquiry last week reported on Disability Employment Services and made a number of recommendations to the Government around their current policies.

“The committee found that current plans, including those around the purchasing of DES tenders, could have substantial implications for providers and clients alike.

“This report provides further evidence for caution in the way the Government approaches purchasing of DES so as not to prevent  service providers from developing and refining effective programs.

"It is essential that people are provided with the opportunities to be trained for, access and retain good, long-term employment," Senator Siewert concluded.

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