Carol Syer

My daughter Caitlin is 20 and has a mild intellectual disability. We have been looking for work since November last year. She is capable of working in mainstream employment. She is with Echo employment agency and has been for 7 months and she hasnt had a single job interview to date, she has a casual job at McDonald’s that she secured herself through work experience but she often only receives 3 hours a week work. She was earning a full wage but echo got involved in her job and now she is on supported wage and earning less than 50% of her previous rate, which seems completely unfair to me. We are now waiting for this to be adjusted.

I’m not convinced the employment agencies help very much, from the feedback I’ve heard it seems to be a bit of a rort.We are desperate to find a job she is spending her time all day alone and there is very little support. Centrelink requirement for her to be registered with an agency is crazy as they don’t do anything to help her get a job. Paperwork is difficult to read and Centrelink is hard to impossible to contact when help needed. We just don’t seem to be getting anywhere.

Theses agencies need to be accountable. They should have to supply a certain amount of opportunities, job interviews etc. going straight in an offering the employer a reduction in wages is not the only option, many people are capable of earning a full wage. I don’t like to think we are making all our Australians with disability live below the poverty line because they can’t earn a fair wage. If a person is on supported wage maybe set up a discount card that enables them discounts on living expenses so they can afford to live? They still have bills to pay like everyone else. If they are on low wages they should be entitled to discounts on medicines, doctors, electricity, gas and maybe this could be expanded to discounts from large companies such as Coles, Kmart etc if theses companies would get on board?