Two Western Australian companies have received recognition from the Prime Minister for their dedication and commitment to employing people with disabilities.
State Disability Services Minister Eric Ripper today congratulated Coles Supermarkets (WA) and the Dardanup Butchering Company, for having won the Prime Minister's 1992 Employer of the Year Awards.
Mr Ripper said the number of WA nominations for the prestigious award had more than doubled on last year, which indicated a very encouraging trend in the employment of Western Australians with disabilities.
The 19 WA entries this year compared with just nine last year. Nationally, there were a total of 158 nominations - an increase of 40 per cent on last year and representing a wider range of job and career opportunities for people with disabilities.
Coles won the WA award for organisations with more than 100 employees, and the Dardanup Butchering Company for a business with less than 100. The two companies won the awards in competition with 17 other WA organisations, all nominated by employed agencies which helped people with disabilities find work.
Coles had been hiring people with disabilities as a matter of policy since 1986 and currently employed 105 staff members with disabilities across the State. Coles was also nominated last year.
The Dardanup Butchering Company won the award for the second year in succession and employed five people with disabilities on their staff, some who had been working there for more than two years.
"Both these organisations deserve commendation for their positive policies, which have tapped into what is a significant reservoir of talent and skill," Mr Ripper said.
"Award winners were universal in their praise of people with disabilities in their workforce, who they found to be extremely enthusiastic, dedicated and loyal.
"Their message to other employers considering hiring people with disabilities is to 'go for it'."
Mr Ripper said the increasing recognition by employers that people with disabilities were a valuable source of skills, was demonstrated by the increased number of entries to the 1992 competition.
The Minister said Homeswest and the Authority for Intellectually Handicapped persons (AIH) were also nominated this year, and the State Government's Department of Land Administration (DOLA) had won the national award last year.
"State Government departments are employing increasing numbers of people with disabilities, and this important area is one which requires increasing efforts by both governments and private enterprise," he said.
"Private enterprise pays its own way, and the increasing employment of people with disabilities in this sector, demonstrates their value and productivity.