Julie Bennett

1. Need more skilled and reliable Enterprise Support Workers, especially in rural regions, to assist disabled people to set up and start their own home-based micro-businesses.

2. Need to ensure disabled people get paid a proper wage. I’ve heard stories of disabled people being paid with a bag of peanuts and a 50 cent coin for a day’s work; this is abuse and must be stopped. We need a structured Award Wage so disabled people know they will be paid a fair days pay for a fair days work.

3. NDIS needs skilled, reliable and caring staff who will audit work places and wages regularly (ie, on an on-going basis) to ensure disabled people are paid properly, have safe work conditions, and are treated with the dignity and respect they both need and deserve to thrive in paid employment. Until Australian culture gets over treating workers as a financial burden instead of valued human resources, we need social Auditors to ensure disabled workers are not abused or used in work places.

4. Whilst the abuse of Ann-Marie Smith was not related to her employment, there remains too many opportunities for employers or other employees to abuse and harass less abled people both in the work place and in their homes.

5. Any NDIS employment scheme NEEDS to ensure safety and respect remain the highest priorities and are properly staffed and funded regardless of where in Australia disabled people live and work (ie, ensure rural and remote regions are also covered).

6. We need more information and training for disabled people to set up and run a micro-business. Your website offers a very broad outline, but nothing of any value to people in rural or remote areas who lack access to training and city-run workshops.

7. Selling off disability employment services to the lowest bidder has to stop. We need the right companies with the right employees who are caring, compassionate, speak English clearly, communicate clearly, are strong minded enough to stand up to employers who want to under pay and not provide adequate working environments. There are just so many loose ends in government-run or government funded schemes to ensure that NO disabled person falls through the cracks!