Myer needs to get on with the job

Monday 1 July 2013

Today the national cross-disability peak body, People with Disability Australia (PWDA) called for Myer to stop shooting the messenger and start walking the talk on disability employment.

This follows a critical opinion editorial piece in today’s Australian Financial Review by Paul McClintock AO, Chair of Myer. Mr McClintock says Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes has “overstepped the mark” by lodging a petition calling for Myer to walk the talk on disability and jobs.

In May Bernie Brookes, the CEO of Myer, told a seminar that the increase to the Medicare levy will hurt Myer’s customer base because the estimated $300 per year the average Australian will pay “is something they would have spent with us”. He went on to say that the levy “is not good for our customers and may have an impact.”

Since then Myer has refused to respond to requests to address employment of people with disability within the company and has now gone on the warpath against Commissioner Graeme Innes. Commissioner Innes is a respected Australian with disability who started a petition on calling on Myer to increase disability employment to 10% by 2015 which has gathered over 38,000 signatures.

PWDA President Craig Wallace says, “Australians expect business leaders to be strong people and take criticism constructively. Graeme’s job is being Disability Discrimination Commissioner. Myers job is be a successful Australian retailer. The real story isn’t about Graeme Innes; it’s about the fact that the head of a large Australian company won’t own the consequences of his statements.”

Comments by Mr Brookes made back in May caused a social media frenzy and the company’s share price sank by 2%. “The reality is that the levy is done and dusted and DisabilityCare opens today.  Myers long suffering shareholders must be as bemused as we are and would probably prefer that Myer just got on with improving company performance and their employment record for people with disability,” Mr Wallace said.

“If it’s ok for Mr Brookes to speak out, why does Mr McClintock now want to silence Commissioner Innes? If they don’t want to talk to the Commissioner then I would be happy to debate the levy and disability employment issues with Mr Brookes.”

MEDIA: Craig Wallace 0413 135 731
Phone: 02 9370 3100 Toll Free: 1800 422 015 Email:
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.