Disability enterprises make dollars and sense
State Government goods and services contracts worth more than $32 million have created meaningful employment opportunities over the past three years for people with disability.
More recently, another $3 million in local government procurement contracts have been made with Western Australian Disability Enterprises (WADE).
As well as creating employment opportunities, partnerships between public sector organisations and WADEs also provide what many take for granted: a chance to develop and demonstrate skills and abilities, build personal confidence and make friends in a connected workplace.
Mr Mal Wauchope, Public Sector Commissioner, congratulated public sector colleagues on the degree to which they have embraced the program.
‘I urge all public sector agencies to get behind the program and seek opportunities to utilise the quality goods and services WADEs provide,’ Mr Wauchope said.
‘There is an increased awareness but there is still a lot more we can do.’
A goal of $50 million in WADE contracts and 2500 people employed by the end of 2018 has been made.
Including people with disability in the workplace benefits an organisation and its employees, challenging stereotypes or assumptions that may exist about the range of abilities people with disability possess.
WADEs employ more than 2000 people with disability in enterprises that produce high quality contracted goods and services in information technology, environmental management, parks and gardens, catering, cleaning, warehousing, printing and many others.
Mr John Knowles, Chief Executive Officer of Good Samaritan Industries and Chairman of the WADE Alliance, said the improvement in the quality and enjoyment of life for people is immeasurable.
‘The impact of increased state and now local government procurement has been powerful, and can be more so in the lives of our employees,’ he said.
WADEs are not-for-profit organisations operating as commercial businesses providing employment opportunities for people with disability. WADEs operate high quality businesses that are accredited against National Disability Standards and all are independently audited and certified.
The WA State Government’s procurement policy is such that WADEs can be contracted without the need for a competitive tender process.
For more information about the Department of Finance’s Australian Disability Enterprise Initiative and how to buy WADE services, contact the Social Procurement Initiatives Manager who manages relationships between government agency buyers and WADEs.