25 February 2015
People with Disability Australia (PWDA) cautiously welcomes some key recommendations from the final report from the Reference Group on Welfare Reform released today while expressing concerns about eligibility rules that could see claimants needing to show they can’t work more than eight hours a week with incapacity expected to last at least five years.
PWDA urged the Government not to ‘cherry-pick’ the report by adopting recommendations which relate to income support savings and ignoring those which relate to building a disability and mental health jobs plan. This time the obligations must be mutual and the focus on incentives not penalties.
While noting that PWDA needs time to fully analyse the report, PWDA President Craig Wallace stated, “We are pleased by the call for a Jobs Plan for people with disability and mental health conditions. This is something we have recommended for some time. The outlines of this Jobs Plan – subsidies, targets, incentives and attitudinal change – seem practical and sensible.”
“We need to know the detail of the payment structure redesign, particularly the proposed Tiered Working Age Payment and the Supported Living Pension. Any redesign needs to ensure that people with disability are able to meet daily living costs, the extra costs of disability and support people to get jobs. Requiring claimants to show they cannot work more than 8 hours a week is a very high bar especially in the current labour market”
“We do welcome the idea of a passport to work which could remove the fear involved in people taking up jobs by enabling them to return to their former income support arrangements and concessions if the job ends or the work hours reduce. This needs to be practical, not just a repackaging of existing arrangements
“While the report urges employment service providers, such as Jobs Services Australia and Disability Employment Services to achieve better skills and job matching, we think this sector needs root and branch reform such as unbundling of employment supports so we don’t have a Neolithic employment system alongside a modern NDIS”.
“We also hold concerns about moving from income based housing rents to Rent Assistance in public housing, which may act as a disincentive to work, and the lack of independent income support for people under 22 years of age”
PWDA President Craig Wallace will be holding a doorstop media conference at Parliament House at the boxes at 11am AEDST
MEDIA: Craig Wallace 0413 135 731
Updates via @CraigWtweets
Phone: 02 9370 3100 Toll Free: 1800 422 015 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
People with Disability Australia Incorporated (PWDA) is a national disability rights and advocacy, non-profit, non-government organisation. We have a cross-disability focus, representing the interests of people with all kinds of disability and our membership is made up of people with disability and organisations mainly constituted by people with disability.
Our vision is of a socially just, accessible and inclusive community, in which the human rights, citizenship, contribution, potential and diversity of all people with disability are respected and celebrated.