Opportunities for Victorians with disability
Paid work is one part of economic participation that builds a sense of self-worth and independence. When people with disability have higher incomes through work, they have more spending power as consumers and are better able to invest in housing and education. Australian Disability Enterprises and a range of social enterprises create employment opportunities for Victorians with disability. People with disability also contribute as producers and consumers of goods and services.
Opportunities for inclusion and benefits from employment and contributing to the economy, make it a vitally important approach for driving change. When people with disability have access to good education and training and the opportunity to contribute to the economy as consumers, employers, entrepreneurs and workers, they are also challenging outdated attitudes.
From social enterprises whose mission it is to provide employment for people with disability to big companies that are now realising the benefits of being an inclusive employer and purchaser, social procurement is changing lives for Victorians with disability and creating a more just and diverse labour market.
From 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022, the Victorian Government directly spent:
- $6 million with 40 Australian Disability Enterprises or social enterprises led by a mission for people with disability
- $22.5 million with an additional 77 social enterprises that support people with disability, identified by the Map for Impact
Case Study: Wannon Water and WDEA Works
Providing essential water and sewerage services to south-west Victoria is a primary focus for Wannon Water. They also strive to support their community by contributing to the wellbeing and prosperity of the entire region.
WDEA Works is a not-for-profit organisation operating at 36 sites across western Victoria and south-east South Australia, with a team of more than 400 people. Over the past 30 years, WDEA Works has helped more than 40,000 people find meaningful and inclusive employment, improving their lives and enriching local communities.
WDEA Works’ comprehensive suite of programs focus on offering meaningful employment opportunities for people with disability through a range of social enterprises. These businesses provide a supportive environment for people with disability to develop their job skills and work ethic, along with an opportunity to make the transition from supported to open employment.
Wannon Water has utilised several of WDEA Works’ social enterprises over the years, including ordering car cleaning/detailing from Steam and Clean and
grass cutting from Clear Cut. During 2021–22, 15 WDEA Works employees with disability completed car cleaning, mowing and grounds maintenance for Wannon Water, valued at just over $16,000.
To support their community members with disability, Wannon Water utilised their partnership with WDEA Works to create an all-abilities labour hire position. The 6-month fixed-term facility assistant position undertook day-to-day maintenance and up-keep tasks at Wannon Water’s head office. Several candidates were provided to Wannon Water for this position and Brendan was chosen as the ideal candidate for the all-abilities position due to his skills and interest in the role. Brendan thrived in the role and his contract was extended to a 12-month contract after just 4 months in the role.
While the initial 12-month labour hire position through WDEA works has ended, Wannon Water’s Corporate Services department has extended the opportunity by creating a permanent part-time position as the corporate services facility assistant. After a 2-year period of unemployment before his placement with WDEA Works and Wannon Water, Brendan enjoys coming to work and meeting new people at his job.
This partnership aligns strongly with the Inclusive Victoria: State Disability Plan (2022–2026) and the Victorian Social Enterprise Strategy 2021–2025 through the creation of positions for people with disability and the continued use of WDEA Works’ social enterprises to complete works at Wannon Water.
Reviewed 06 October 2023