Tonight on ABC's 4 Corners program there is an expose on the systematic abuse of job seekers that has been fact for more than 16 years.
Disability Employment is being dragged into similar disrepute as no action is taken to prevent further distortions similar to those (read the back posts) I have been going on about since this blog started.
Don't know what's on the 4 Corners show but recommend everyone that is concerned about helping Australia's most disadvantaged citizens find real work, stop and take a look.
Example I have raged against and on record since 2005:
Question to Minister at agency forum: 'Minister, doesn't this scheme encourage providers to break jobs into small parcels of employment? In return it seems they will receive 5 times the funding and 5 times the recognition in Star Ratings?
Response from Minister (to me) ' I think we can rely upon the integrity of service providers'.
His words brought laughter from the audience and they have brought misery to those trapped in the ineffective employment programs that have taken the shine from what were formerly world class disability employment programs.
By international standards we now perform poorly.
It does NOT have to be this way.
My words aren't a call to shoot the incumbents!!
Ministers Scott Morrison & Mitch Fifield look after Disability Employment Services.
Disability Employment Programs aren’t making much of a difference in the lives of people with disability.
To then say; ‘therefore these Ministers are to blame’ is an easy follow-on.
The problem is, they ain’t!
I don’t want this to sound like a party political broadcast and here’s the facts:
Mr Morrison has only been in this role a short while and both he and Senator Fifield strike me as really keen to make a difference, willing to go out of their way to assist in the process of change and sincerely keen to find out what works.
They have inherited a serious problem: the commoditisation of people in a process that feeds on misery.
Service provider ‘A’ places person with disability into full time employment, freeing them from stigma of welfare and providing business owner with invaluable business asset - integrated effective worker.
Provider ‘A’ scores ‘1’
Service provider ‘B’ takes same position, carves into 5 x 8hrs jobs and uses Commonwealth funds to subsidise employment for a little over 6 months. Employer (at best) feels good about being able to help. At a little after 6 months Service Provider ‘B’ assists employer to recycle workers and gain entitlement to further subsidy.
Provider ‘B’ scores 5 and has 5 more on the way.
That’s 5 times the money (that’s OK, it’s just manipulation of an ill-considered contract by bunglers). They take that money and clench it tightly to their chests, bleating that the Commonwealth should do more to promote their ‘service’.
What’s worse is that this sort of behaviour has a destructive effect that goes beyond merely crushing morale – Provider ‘B’ scores 5 times as much in the ‘Star Ratings’.
This means at next contract time ‘A’ is under threat and ‘B’ gets rewarded.
I’ve been going on about this for years – no one listens.
The disaster we have now we have brought upon ourselves.
Our Ministers are reasonably new. Rather than engage in a blame game we need to set Key Performance Indicators that mean real change for unemployed people who have a disability – that’s exactly the same as anyone else wants; a real job with prospects of security, personal development and growth. Enough money to escape the stigma of poverty or at least make a meaningful difference in day to day matters.
Set the markers for judging performance at the return delivered and that includes promotion of the skills and abilities of people with disability – surely there’s no need for charities to stash millions and millions of dollars in assets – use these instead to promote the cause??
I don't think these programs have bad leadership at a Ministerial level, and now these gentlemen have a chance to make positive change that brings real improvements in people's lives.
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