I noticed there is consultation paper out regarding “National Disability Employment Strategy”. There is no doubt there are many many obstacles regarding a disAbled person to enter to the job market and lots needs to be done to address these issues properly. My family is a live example of that. My wife completed two PhD degrees one of them from Sydney University back in 2015. She was such an active person and has 11 international publications with edge of knowledge subjects. Please see the attached email that has links to her publications to get an idea about the quality of her work. She really has contributed a lot.
Due to the her disability, she is bounded in a wheelchair on a full time basis and couldn’t continue the usual work like other people and all attempts to gain a meaningful employment has failed. Someone like her with this level of qualifications and experience still cannot get a meaningful employment from the employers out there and this is why we decided to get creative and establish our own business. We established two business to enable her work the way she likes and enable her to be productive however establishing a business and running it has proven to be really hard especially for someone with disAbility and limitation in movement and after few years one of the businesses is around 100K down in debt.
What we have experienced so far is that there is not that much support for the disAbled-owned businesses out there and they need to go head to head with others with lots of competitions. I understand there are very good policies out there for Aboriginal-owned businesses to enable them survive and compete with others. For example there are very good established policies in the government procurement that has mandates and target for government agencies to meet and certain percentage of contracts to go to the Aboriginal-owned business. Please see the below links:
Our suggestion is that, we need to have similar policies and guidelines for disAbled-owned business to encourage them, give them the support needed and keep them in the business. This way is much more productive rather than just giving the disAbled person hand-outs and welfare supports. We need a bit head start and this could be possible by good policies and supports to enable disAbled-owned business to stay in business and create jobs for themselves and even for others. These businesses would be much more welcoming to hire disAbled people as they have experience firsthand regarding this matter and the understanding is there already.
We would like to be productive and give back to the community and encourage other too. I understand it is a long way to go but have to start from somewhere.
Ali Farhoodi, NSW JP