Vocational Services Big Budget Winner
6 May 2002
Vocational services for people with disabilities will get a funding boost of more than $27 million over the next four years, Associate Social Services and Employment Minister Ruth Dyson announced today.
A further $17.28 million over four years has been allocated to restore the time-limited funding of two initiatives: a) the Job Support programme which assists people with disabilities to get and retain paid work, and b) support for around 200 school leavers with very high and complex support needs. Funding for these initiatives was due to run out at the end of the financial year, and will now continue on a permanent basis.
“This substantial funding package confirms the government’s commitment to provide genuine employment opportunities for people with disabilities, with the same rights and conditions as other workers,” Ms Dyson said.
The $27.31 million in new funding is made up of $24.58 million to implement the government’s vocational services strategy, Pathways to Inclusion, and $2.73 million to repeal the Disabled Persons Employment Promotion Act and revise the under-rate workers’ permit system.
Allocation of the $24.58 million to implement the vocational services strategy will be: $1.06 million in year one, $2.35 million in year two, $9.28 million in year three, and $11.89 million in year four and thereafter.
Ruth Dyson said the priority for the first two years would be to strengthen and improve current provision of vocational services. After that, more emphaisis would be placed on developing additional services, particularly in employment.
“The vocational services funding package will help the government to achieve objective 4 of the New Zealand Disability Strategy: to ‘provide opportunities in employment and economic development for people with disabilities’.
“Repeal of the Disabled Persons Employment Promotion Act 1960 will also pave the way for people with disabilities to be treated fairly in the workplace. The act gives sheltered workplaces a blanket exemption from minimum wage and holiday provisions for all their workers. This is unacceptable. When the act is repealed, people with disabilities in an employment relationship will have the same rights as everyone else.”