BSWAT Payment Scheme announced
Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Assistant Minister for Social Services, has announced the establishment of a scheme
to provide payments to eligible people with intellectual disability who have worked, or are working, in Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs).
In December 2012, the Full Federal Court found that the Australian Government had indirectly discriminated against two workers with intellectual disability employed in ADEs
A lot of work has been undertaken to understand the full implications of the Full Federal Court decision. One of the actions already undertaken has been an application to the Australian Human Rights Commission for a temporary exemption from the Disability Discrimination Act 1992
to allow ADEs to continue using the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT) while an orderly transition is made to a new wage assessment process.
The establishment of the payment scheme is another major initiative. The payment scheme will help provide certainty to eligible people with intellectual disability working in ADEs, their families and carers.
Access to the payment scheme will commence from 1 July 2014. Further detail will be made available shortly, as work is already underway to formally establish the payment scheme, including development of supporting legislation.
Further information will be posted at www.dss.gov.au/bswat/paymentscheme
as it becomes available and distributed via DisAbility e-news. The Department of Social Services will also shortly be writing to all supported employees to advise them of this recent development.
The information line for parents and carers of people with disability will also be able to provide updated information to workers as establishment of the payment scheme progresses:
1800 880 052
New Standards approved
At the 18 December meeting of the Standing Council on Disability Reform, ministers from all jurisdictions endorsed the revised National Standards for Disability Services
These new standards
are seen as a transitional reform enabling nationally consistent quality standards to apply for the disability services sector. They have a greater focus on person centred approaches and promote choice and control by people with disability. These are considered critical under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The Australian Government will adopt the new standards for its employment services for people with disability. The Department of Social Services is allowing for a 12-month transition period from 1 January 2014. During this period organisations will be able to choose between the old or the new standards for their audits. In June 2013, $5000 funding was made available to all Australian Disability Enterprise providers to assist them with transition expenses such as reviewing policies and procedures in line with the new standards.
We encourage organisations to adopt the new standards as soon as possible. At a minimum, providers must show that they are planning for the new standards and discussing those plans with their Certifying Bodies. Planning and progress against those plans will be flagged in the audit reports during the transition period.
It is important to note that the intent of the standards in promoting quality services remains the same. If your organisation meets the old standards then you should have few issues transitioning to the new standards.
The new standards have been through exhaustive stages of consultation, validation and user testing, culminating in a set of six standards that are able to be applied across a broad range of circumstances.
- Participation and Inclusion
- Individual Outcomes
- Feedback and Complaints
- Service Access
- Service Management.
More information about the new standards including a resource package to assist service providers and certifying bodies with the transition can be found at: National Standards for Disability Services