Save the jobs of thousands of people with a disability

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My name is Kathy and my son Brenden is 32 years old and has Down syndrome. For the last eight years Brenden has been working at a Disability Enterprise called Greenacres in Wollongong five days a week.

Brenden doesn’t read or write and he finds it hard to understand or comprehend instructions. He is everybody’s friend, he likes to cuddle people and is very trusting.

No one loves their job more than Brenden. He feels safe and supported, enjoys being with his friends each day and is very proud of the work he does. He earns more than the minimum wage when you combine his assessed wage and his other pension entitlements. There is no way he could work anywhere but in supported employment but Brendan’s job is under threat.

The Fair Work Commission will soon be deciding how wages for workers with a disability are determined. The outcome could destroy the viability of jobs for thousands of supported employees like Brenden working in Disability Enterprises.

Brenden would be devastated to lose his job. Unless the Government changes its policies to ensure the viability of Disability Enterprises, Brenden and many thousands more people with disabilities could be unemployed from 2018.

For most supported employees, like Brenden, a loss of work will mean they will be $130 worse off each week. They’ll also lose the dignity of working in a job where they feel included and supported.

I am the sole parent to Brenden and two other daughters who also have Down syndrome and I have a disability that affects my mobility.

Our family needs this extra money just to get by each week but for me and all the other families and carers it’s not just about the money.

It’s about knowing my son is safe, that he has friends who he loves, that he is continually learning and reaching goals and, most importantly, that he is proud of who he is and the work he does.

As a community we cannot lose Disability Enterprises. Please sign this petition so my son Brenden and thousands of other Australians with disability can continue to work in the jobs they love. It is time for the Prime Minister to announce new policies to protect Brenden’s job. We demand real solutions and action now.


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