Fewer People Should Be on Welfare, Says PM

Fewer People Should Be on Welfare, Says PM

DARU Update

11 April 2011



Fewer People Should be on Welfare, Says PM

AAP, 6 April 2011

People on disability pensions could be made to join the workforce to help fund flood recovery efforts, the prime minister says.

An overhaul of the welfare system reportedly is set to feature in the May budget, providing extra money for rebuilding after the devastating Queensland floods and cyclone Yasi.

Asked if welfare expenses would be slashed to save money, Ms Gillard said it was important for those who were fit enough to work to be gainfully employed.

Asked if people on disability pensions would be targeted, Ms Gillard replied: "Inevitability that would cause fewer people on welfare, because given the choice I want to see people in the workforce, not on welfare".

"We do have to build those bridges into the workforce, give people the skills and training they need to get a job opportunity."

To read the full article, visit:

Disabled Workers Take on Federal Government

Kellee Nolan, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 April 2011

Two men with intellectual disabilities are taking on the federal government in court, hoping to win a pay rise for 20,000 disabled workers across Australia.

Michael Nojin, 44, who has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, impaired motor skills and an intellectual disability, has done office jobs such as removing staples, shredding documents and sweeping floors for $1.79 an hour.

Gordon Prior, 58, has a vision and intellectual impairment and has worked as a gardener for $3.47 an hour.

The men will go to the Federal Court in Melbourne next Monday, arguing that the wage assessment tool - created for disabled workers by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) - has failed disabled workers and kept their wages unfairly low.

If they are successful, they hope to improve wages for more than 20,000 people with a disability who work at Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) across the country.

Association of Employees with Disability (AED) Legal Centre solicitor Kairsty Wilson said the organisation had another 60 clients with a complaint about their wage assessment.

"The government's intended goal with BSWAT was to ensure that people with disabilities received a fair day's pay for a fair day's work," Ms Wilson said in a statement.

A FaHCSIA spokeswoman said as the case was before the court, it was inappropriate to comment on issues subject to judicial proceedings.

To read the full article, visit:

Government Appoints Head of Office for the Not for Profit Sector

Pro Bono News, 31 March 2011

The Federal Government has appointed Helen McDevitt, the Assistant Secretary of the Social Inclusion Unit as the head of the new Office for the Not-for-Profit Sector within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Minister for Social Inclusion, Tanya Plibersek announced the establishment of the Office for the Non-Profit Sector shortly after the Gillard Government returned to power in October as part of its promise of a reform agenda for the Not for Profit sector.

Helen McDevitt is an experienced social policy and reform adviser in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C).

She has previously led the Workforce Participation and Education Branch in PM&C for two years, leading COAG reform work in education, training, policy advice and coordination across education, training and employment.

She has also worked in the Commonwealth departments of education (two years in schools division) and transport (five years in strategic land transport taskforce).

To read the full article, visit:


Communities in Control Conference 2011 - It's Time for Change

When: / May 30 & 31, 2011
Where: / Moonee Valley Racing Club, Members Gate 1, McPherson Street, Moonee Ponds
Register: / Tickets are available online at
Cost: / Conference only: $298 (GST inclusive)

This year's topic is Our Changing Communities and Community Organisations. Don't burn out - get fired up!

Communities in Control aims to inspire and enliven and energise community group workers, volunteers and supporters. It'll remind you what it's all about and why what you do matters so much.

The guest speakers include:

  • Elizabeth Broderick was appointed Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Commissioner responsible for Age Discrimination in 2007.
  • Senator Kate Lundy is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.
  • Joan Kirner is Victoria’s much loved former Premier and the Victorian Community Ambassador.
  • Miriam Lyons is the Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Development.
  • Hugh Mackay is a psychologist, social researcher and novelist.
  • Stephen Mayne is a journalist, local government councillor, shareholder activist and well-known troublemaker.
  • Simon McKeon is the 2011 Australian of the Year, a prominent investment banker and record breaking yachtsman, but it’s his efforts to support multiple Australian and international community organisations which has earned him great admiration.
  • Phil Ruthven is the founder and Chairman of IBISWorld, an international corporation, providing online business information, forecasting and strategic services.
  • Peter Ryan is the Deputy Premier of Victoria. He also holds the portfolios of Regional and Rural Development, Police and Emergency Services and Bushfire Response.
  • Linda Lavarch currently holds one of the most influential positions in the Australian community sector as Chair of the Australian Government's Not-for-Profit Sector Reform Council while also holding a key position of Research Fellow at the Australian Centre of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS), Queensland University of Technology.
  • Mark Scott presides over one of the largest and most influential media empires in Australia – he's Managing Director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
  • Cr Samantha Dunn has background as a financial controller in the vocational education not-for-profit sector, and was elected to the Shire of Yarra Ranges Council in 2005. Samantha is currently also President of the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA)

The full conference program can be downloaded at:

For more information, phone (03) 9320 6800.

Community Transport – How are We Travelling?

When: / 23 & 24 May 2011
Where: / Quality All Seasons Resort, McIvor Road Bendigo
Register: / Program and Registration Form can be downloaded from:

For more information, contact Becky Morton on phone

03 5551 8461 or email VCTA at

Unspeakable – Comedy Gets the Silent Treatment!

When: / 18 April 2011, 7:30pm
Where: / Gasworks, 21 Graham St, Albert Park.
Tickets: / Phone 9699 32 53

Unspeakable features a line-up of the best in physical and visual comedy. People of all ages and comedy tastes are sure to enjoy this variety night of high quality comedic acts.

Presented in proud partnership with Frankston Arts Centre’s Arts Access program and Gasworks Arts Park, proceeds will help create arts opportunities for the Deaf community.

For more information, visit:


DSC Newsletter

Autumn 2011

This is a quarterly newsletter providing regular updates on the work of the Disability Services Commissioner.

In this edition:

  • Regional Forums
  • Malcolm’s story
  • Plain English newsletter
  • Having a Say Conference
  • Protocol with DHS

To subscribe to or download this publication (available in a variety of formats), visit:


Independent Support Brokerage

When: / Wednesday 4 May & Thursday 5 May 2011, 9:30am – 4:30pm
Where: / CAE Melbourne, Level 4, 253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Register: / Go online to
Cost: / $330 (incl. gst)

This two day course will provide you with a clear explanation of the international history of individualised funding, its principles and benefits, and the role of the support broker. It will provide invaluable expertise in terms of realising self directed approaches and assisting people with disability, and their families and carers, to manage these individualised supports in line with Victorian State Plan 2002-2012

The course flyer can be viewed or downloaded from:

For more information, contact Breanna Dahl on phone (03) 8686 5629 or email

DARU Workshop: To Stand Beside

When: / Wednesday 18 May 2011, 10:00am – 4:00pm
Where: / VCOSS Board Room, Level 8, 128 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
Register: / Download a flyer and registration form from:

This course is aimed at people experienced in advocacy seeking to develop their understanding and their effectiveness. This program uses the To Stand Beside: Advocacy for Inclusion Training Manual to promote the development of advanced advocacy skills, in a human rights model.

The workshop provides training in the principles, strategies and methods with discussion and examination of the issues of

  • Empowerment
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Personal and Organisational Integrity
  • Individualised Planning
  • Self Advocacy skills development

For more information, contact DARU on phone (03) 9639 5807 or email .


Consultation: Productivity Commission Draft Report - Disability Care and Support

When: / Friday 15 April 2011, 10:00am -1:00pm
Where: / VALID, 235 Napier St, Fitzroy
Register: / RSVP to

DANA (Disability Advocacy Network Australia) has received funding to undertake consultations with Advocacy Organisations across Australia about the Draft Report and to follow this up with a submission to the Commission.

The Draft Productivity Commission Report is available on the Productivity Commission website at:

DANA will be using the consultations to also provide an update on DANA activities and to seek guidance about the matters you would like DANA to address on your behalf in the future.

If you are unable to attend but would like to add input, phone 02 61541983 or email

To find out more about DANA, visit their website at:

Critical Forum on Disability Care and Support

When: / Tuesday 12 April, 12.30 - 2.00pm
Where: / John Scott Meeting House, La Trobe University, Melbourne campus

The La Trobe University Ideas & Society Program, convened by Professor Robert Manne, is holding an important forum on the question of disability insurance, the new challenge confronting Australia’s welfare state.

The forum follows the Productivity Commission’s release of its draft report on Disability Care and Support which recommended the establishment of a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The draft report - Disability Care and Support - says an ‘entirely new model’ for providing supports and services for people with a disability is needed, identifying the current disability support system as underfunded, unfair, fragmented and inefficient.

The final report will be delivered to the Government in July 2011.

For more information, contact Lisa Prowling, La Trobe University Media and Communications Officer, on phone 03 9479 5517 or email or visit the website:

ACE National Website Redevelopment Survey

As part of ACE National’s rebranding process and improving and growing membership services, a new online environment for members, jobseekers, employers, consumers and advocates is being redeveloped.

Please take time to complete an online survey via the link below, to ensure that the expanded features meet your needs and to offer any other feedback.

The survey available at:


Clerical Administrative assistant

  • Permanent Part Time – Grade 6
  • 12 hours per week
  • Immediate start

Citizen Advocacy Sunbury & Districts is seeking expressions of interest for clerical officer and assistant to the Coordinator.

To obtain a position description, email David Abela at

Applications close 20 April 2011.

Welcome to the weekly Update from the Disability Advocacy Resource Unit (DARU). If you would like to be removed from this list or kept up to date another way, please reply to this email and let us know.

DARU has been funded by the state government. It is run by a governance group, including members of the Victorian Disability Advocacy Network (VDAN), and the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS). DARU’s staff currently includes a Co-ordinator, Sharon Granek, and an Administration Officer, Natasha Brake.

We are always happy to hear from people who are interested in what we do. If you have a question, an idea, some news you’d like to see in the next update, or even if you just want to tell us something we’re doing is good or bad, get in touch! Call us on 03 9639 5807 or email .

Please note that material contained in the DARU Update copy does not necessarily reflect the policy of DARU or the views of any staff members. Statements in the DARU Update do not comprise advice and readers should avail themselves of professional advice where appropriate.