People with disability paid as low as $2.37 per hour: Royal Commission told

Employees working in Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) have appeared at a three-day hearing to detail their experiences as a Disability Royal Commission examined whether ADE’s contributed to, or prevented, violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation of people with disability.

ADEs provide “supported employment opportunities to people with moderate to severe disability across Australia”.

The hearing before the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, which started on April 11, examined issues including:

  • The day to day experiences of people with disability working in ADEs, including roles, tasks and workplace culture.
  • The conduct of wage assessments in ADEs.
  • Supported wage levels and the interaction between supported wages and the Disability Support Pension.
  • What opportunities for progression and training within ADEs and transition from ADEs to other forms of employment are available to people with disability.
  • Whether there is oversight of the operation of ADEs to ensure choice and control for people with disability in relation to their employment.

More than a dozen witnesses were expected to appear including people with disability working in ADEs, their family members, and representatives from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and the Department of Social Services (DSS).

A large employer of people with disability in Australia, Bedford, gave evidence remotely from South Australia.

Chair Ronald Sackville AO QC presided over the hearing along with Commissioner Rhonda Galbally AC and Commissioner Andrea Mason OAM.

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