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Govt must sort out sheltered workshops package

Government must sort out sheltered workshops package

Labour must ensure people with disabilities working in sheltered workshops are not disadvantaged if the Disabled Persons Employment Promotion (Repeal and Related Matters) Bill goes through, says National’s Disability Issues spokesman, Dr Paul Hutchison.

The bill remains high on the order paper to be discussed by Parliament, but there is doubt as to whether the Government has the numbers to pass it.

“My major concern is that, because of the Government’s failure to sort out the tax and benefit arrangements for workers with disabilities, and the support package for employers, people with disabilities who choose to work in sheltered workshops could be disadvantaged,” says Dr Hutchison.

“I recently visited Abilities on Auckland’s North Shore and Workforce Auckland in Mangere and was very impressed with the enthusiasm and positive attitude of the people involved.

“The workers with disabilities were so keen on their jobs, many turned up early for work. The atmosphere was quite inspiring – I saw no evidence of anyone being taken advantage of.

“To my knowledge, all sheltered workshops support the eventual repeal of the DPEP Act, but the Government has still not defined the critical tax and benefit arrangements or support packages that are needed to ensure no one is disadvantaged,” says Dr Hutchison.

Ends

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