MEDIA RELEASE - Labor misleads on disability wage tool payment scheme
It is deeply
disappointing that Labor have sought to mislead the Australian people on the
Government’s BSWAT payment scheme legislation.
It is also regrettable that they are attempting to play politics with the
creation of a new wage assessment tool for people with disability.
During the caretaker period in 2013, the Department of Social Services applied
to the Human Rights Commission for a three year temporary exemption from the
Disability Discrimination Act for the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool
The BSWAT was used in some Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs), but was
found to be indirectly discriminatory in its application in two instances by
the Federal Court in 2012.
The temporary exemption was sought to allow sufficient time for the
implications of a Federal Court decision to be worked through and for a new
wage assessment tool to be created.
It is unlikely that all ADEs who have used the BSWAT will be able to transition
their workforce entirely to an alternative tool in the time frame provided by
This is why
it was so disappointing that the AHRC’s decision did not provide ADEs with the
amount of time needed to transition to new wage setting arrangements.
the Government has committed $173 million for the creation of a new wage
assessment tool, and to help ADEs that previously used BSWAT with transition
costs to a new wage tool.
Work on developing the new tool is being led by the Fair Work Commission, in
consultation with relevant stakeholders including employers, unions and
The process to create a new tool is entirely separate from the BSWAT Payment
Scheme legislation, currently before the Senate.
The Payment Scheme will provide payments to eligible people with disability who
have worked in an ADE and had their wages assessed using the BSWAT.
being deliberately misleading when they claim the Government’s legislation
would prevent people with disability from exercising their legal rights.
This is a lie. We are doing the opposite of denying choice.
this legislation, we are putting another option on the table, an option which
Labor seeks to remove for people with disability.
action in relation to BSWAT could be a lengthy process with an uncertain
outcome. We respect the right of people with disability to pursue this avenue.
However, we are seeking to provide an alternative choice that has a guaranteed
outcome and a swift and transparent process in the form of a payment scheme
from the Government.
would provide a fast and efficient payment to eligible workers with disability,
and is entirely voluntary. No one will be required to participate in the
scheme. Choice and control rests with the applicant.
And the Scheme provides free legal advice and financial counselling. In fact,
participants would be required to seek independent financial counselling and
legal advice – paid for by the Commonwealth – to help them make an informed
advocate blocking this legislation would remove choice for people with
disability, leaving them with no option but to participate in a potentially
lengthy legal battle with an uncertain outcome.
Labor seek to deny people with disability the choice to access a transparent process
and swift outcome.
Media contact: Lydia Paterson | 0409 792 081 | firstname.lastname@example.org