One of the State's biggest employers of people with intellectual disabilities has undergone a corporate change.
The organisation Workpower, formerly part of the Authority for Intellectually Handicapped persons (AIH), is now successfully encouraging people in sheltered workshops, to take up jobs in the general work community, under a new persona.
Disability Services Minister Eric Ripper today congratulated Workpower for becoming incorporated and transferring from AIH to the non-government sector. The incorporation was marked by a special ceremony at Workpower's Midvale premises.
Mr Ripper said Workpower was involved with the employment of 240 Western Australians with intellectual disabilities, most with high support needs. The organisation had 60 staff, providing assistance and support to the employees at eight centres in the metropolitan area.
Workpower received a total of $2.5 million in the State Budget and achieved sales worth $250,000 in the last year, from products such as rubber mats produced from recycled tyres, hand-made recycled paper and electronic cabling.
"The Government commends Workpower's philosophy of integrating Western Australians with disabilities into the general community and to encourage better general recognition of their many talents."
Mr Ripper said the policy which protected the needs and rights of Western Australians with disabilities, would soon be enshrined in State legislation. This legislation would be based on 'A Fair Go for Everyone: Disability Policy for Western Australia.'
"Workpower has demonstrated that people with intellectual disabilities, given the right encouragement and support, can develop into skilled and productive members of the working community. They just need to be given the right opportunity to reach their full potential."
The Minister said Workpower was currently funded by the State Government, but would become Federal Government funded under the terms of the Commonwealth/State Disability Agreement.