Bill Shorten MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services
The Australian Government will support the employment of people with disability by extending access to wage assessment tools for businesses at a cost of $25.7 million over four years.
This means around 90 small businesses employing supported workers with disability, which lack the infrastructure to administer internal wage assessments, can continue to rely on the Government-funded Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT).
This tool is used to calculate pro-rata wages for their supported employees.
Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities Bill Shorten said these small businesses collectively employ around 9,000 supported employees with disabilities.
"Businesses need ongoing support to continue employing people with disability who have an enormous amount to contribute to the economic growth of the nation," Ms Macklin said.
The current arrangement for access to BSWAT was due to expire on 30 June 2008.
"This commitment underlines our determination to create a robust National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy," Mr Shorten said.
"The Strategy is looking at ways to create direct links between employers and people with disability and mental illness by addressing myths about increased risks and costs, and raising awareness of the benefits. It's also exploring innovative ways to help people with disability to find and retain work, and forging pathways from business services to open employment."
Employment Participation Minister, Brendan O'Connor, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services, Bill Shorten, are jointly overseeing the development of this strategy and have been holding public consultations in capital cities and regional locations since April.
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