Minister's take on controversial plan: disability scheme equals extra jobs

HAPPY HOMECOMING: Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka with future group home resident Lola Pond and member for Orange  Andrew Gee as they check out the facilities at Ralston Drive.
Photo JUDE KEOGH  0502grouphome7

HAPPY HOMECOMING: Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka with future group home resident Lola Pond and member for Orange Andrew Gee as they check out the facilities at Ralston Drive. Photo JUDE KEOGH 0502grouphome7

THE National Disability Insurance Scheme would mean Wangarang Industries could take on as many employees as it had work for and more Orange people with a disability could be employed.

Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka told Wangarang Industries staff, at the official opening of its latest building, people with a disability deserve to have a job just like he deserved to have a job.

With funding from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), more people with a disability could be employed at Wangarang Industries because the funding would not be capped at 125 employees. 

“People with a disability have a right to live their lives just like everybody else has a right to live their lives,” he said. 

He called on the federal government and member for Calare John Cobb to ensure the NDIS was included in the budget, would be on time for its 2018/2019 rollout and would not be watered down.

“We require the commonwealth government to honour the heads of government agreement ... we want the best NDIS and we want to ensure it is the most efficient NDIS,” he said.

The NDIS would mean people with a severe or profound disability would have access to more government funding and they, or their carers, would have complete control over their own money.

But the NDIS, which passed Parliament with bipartisan support and to wide acclaim a year ago, may be wound back.

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The Commission of Audit report released on Thursday, suggested the rollout of the NDIS should be delayed because of cost blowouts at trial sites. 

The NDIS would be joint funded by the state and federal governments and NSW was the first state to sign up.

Mr Ajaka said NSW was “on track and on time” for the NDIS and wanted to see money allocated in the May federal budget to ensure the rollout would be timely. 

Member for Orange Andrew Gee said up to another 50,000 people in the state could receive funding with the NDIS.

“People with disabilities are people with abilities,” he said. 

Orange man Paul Heath had a part-time job at Wangarang because he said he could not live off the disability support pension.

“It’s not enough money, I need to pay my rent and I can’t without a job,” he said. 

Wangarang Industries chairman Mike Crowley said Wangarang was one of 114 supported workplaces in NSW and had been in operation over 50 

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