The Federal Government’s attempt to buy some time in relation to the Business Service Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT) has stumbled in the Senate.
‘Shame for people with disabilities!’ comes the cry.
That’s true, it is a shame, but it is not a shame of this Government’s making, nor is it, and you know how much I like to take a swing at the bureaucracy, necessarily the fault of the administration, although they are now forced to clean up the mess.
The BSWAT was/is only one of about 20 possible tools that could be used to determine a productivity based wage for people with disability employed in Australia Disability Enterprises (ADE’s).
Many of these programs are making a fuss because using alternative tools to measure productivity will see an increase in workers’ wages and these programs claim that’s unsustainable.
You’ll need to forgive me on specific dates and about 10 years ago and (here’s the bit that’s being conveniently forgotten by ADE management) everyone knew the BSWAT gave the lowest productivity results for people with disability, particularly for people with intellectual disability.
NOVA has operated an ADE in Walgett for about 20 years and we chose to use the Supported Wage Assessment Tool because we believed and continue to feel that this tool delivers the fairest result for actual capability.
Without embarrassing my staff at Walgett the average wage for our workers is about 3 time the average for all workers in ADE’s at around $13.50ph – these workers aren’t lucky to get so much, they earn what they have been fairly assessed as due.
When the system of using assessment tools rather than paying a fixed sum was put into place the Government of the day encouraged service providers to work towards ensuring the system they chose was fair and gave the highest wages to people with disability.
Lazy providers did not make the necessary effort and service providers that were either unable or unwilling to work that bit harder to ensure the economic viability of the businesses in which they employed people simply carried on business as usual.
Exploitation continued - wages as low as 33c per hour have been spoken about!
This mess has been a long time coming and discrimination – no argument the BSWAT discriminates - is ALWAYS wrong and this needs to be stopped now, workers with disability need to be fairly assessed and receive a fair wage. Perhaps the massive asset base accrued by some of these charities that operate ADE’s using the BSWAT could be sold to support interim fair wages?
People with disabilities deserve fair wages – check out a team that earn every penny they get: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfwt5-L2KJw (difference in dates: Cafe 64 was previously ‘Seashells’ 1995 – 2004)
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