ASU members in community and disability services have been at the frontline of the pandemic supporting local communities. This year's conferences even more important than usual. Over two jam packed days over 100 delegates from community and disability sector came together over Zoom to learn, discuss and advocate for their work.
Disability workers are skilled professionals who should be valued for the difference they make every day. On Day 1 over fifty disability workers came together to hear from an diverse panel to hear about the challenges facing the NDIS:
- Anna Booth, Mother of an NDIS Participant and former Deputy President of the Fair Work Commission
- David Briggs, Council for Intellectual Disability
- Margaret Bowen, CEO, The Disability Trust
- Michelle Carrig, Trainer, Lifestyle Solutions
We were joined by Jo Grissard & Kim Windsor from the NDIS Commission to present the new NDIS Workforce Capability Framework.
Delegates discussed complying with the law, being supported at work and developing skills and career paths in the NDIS, finally passing a resolution including
"We believe in the promise of the NDIS that people with disability should have genuine choice and control and access to supports and services that meet their needs and aspirations. We know to achieve this you need a stable and diverse workforce of skilled, trained, supported and well paid workers who can have meaningful careers in the sector.
Together we will advocate and campaign to lift the standards in our sector, so workers are better supported to do their job well, and can access ongoing relevant training to build their skills and experience."
We launched DSWConnect.com.au - a resource for all Disability Support Workers to learn, connect and grow their careers.
On Day 2 community workers joined the disability contingent to discuss the difference community workers make should be better recognised and valued.
We heard from a panel of experts about why community workers were heroes during the pandemic:
- Janet Schorer, NSW Children’s Guardian
- Robert Fitzgerald AM, NSW Aging and Disability Commissioner
- Joanna Quilty, CEO NSW Council of Social Services
and heard a video message from The Hon. Mark Speakman, NSW Attorney General and Minister for the prevention of Violence Against Women
The campaign for portable entitlements continues - portable entitlements will provide more secure work in our sector, it will provide access to respite and support and help attract and retain workers.
We used the Find My Leave calculator to discover the huge amount of leave we COULD have if we had portable entitlements.
We came together to resolve to
- campaign in our workplaces and in our community to ask people to join our call
- build networks of activists to take our campaign to our political leaders who can make this happen.