Page 4176 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 26 November 2013

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Many of these families are faced with a confusing array of services and often inadequate support options. They may find themselves faced with long waiting lists for some programs and insufficient funding to actively engage in further education and training or supported employment places. In some cases, early planning and targeted support may have eased the pressure and created good pathways. However, many families express frustration regarding a general lack of strategic planning support early in the life of their children.

The Greens want a system that engages with and provides opportunities for all young people to extend their knowledge and capabilities in ways that enrich their lives and a system that supports them in later life. In the ACT there are currently several service providers who support people with disability to attend job training programs, find appropriate employment or offer direct supported employment under social enterprise-type models.

One of the larger direct employers for the ACT is the Australian government Department of Human Services, which provides approximately 200 supported employment places in a variety of industries for adults with disability although, unfortunately, anecdotal evidence is that this service can have a waiting list of up to two years. While that is not always the case, it certainly underlines the pressures that are out there.

This bill encourages the extension of employment opportunities into the private sector and encourages companies to employ people with a permanent disability who require long-term, regular and ongoing support in the workplace for a minimum of eight hours. This bill puts the concession in place for two years until January 2016, but I do hope that the program is a success and that, as such, there is pressure to continue the arrangement due to the number of companies that have taken it up. If that is an issue the Assembly faces in two years time, I think that would be quite a good outcome in many regards.

I will look forward to hearing about the take-up of this program over the next few years. I hope that the private sector in the ACT takes this opportunity of the financial incentive provided by the government to think about whether they can create a position for a young person with a disability. I will be happy to support the bill today.

MR WALL (Brindabella) (10.50): I too will speak very briefly, given that Mr Smyth has already indicated the Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill. It does, however, go only part of the way to what is needed to meet the demand for support for young school leavers that have a disability. The availability of post-school options is one of the biggest issues that parents of children with a disability continue to raise with me on a regular basis. Sadly, the assistance will benefit only those that operate a large business in the ACT with a payroll in excess of $1.75 million. The subsidy will only cover the payroll tax liability of a wage up to $58,000.

There is, disappointingly, no support in this bill for assistance or support to small and medium-sized businesses in the ACT, businesses that often have the flexibility and the space to hire someone that does have some slightly more complex needs but who is

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