|Posted on August 26, 2014 at 8:00 PM|
Author: David Swift - QUT Student Master of Social Work
The McClure proposal will hit young people with disability under 35, putting them into the labour market and or work experience or most likely, keep them in education or training for longer. In the proposal a simplified income support system is proposed. Pages 33-35 of the report provide a profile of people with disability and key relationships to carers as informal support. Here I propose to examine the construction of the McClure report from the perspective of my wheelchair, that is people with disability, focusing on the options asserted by the proposal, together with language and imagery and the use of budget figures.
According to the McClure Report (2014, 46-47), the 2014-15 Federal Budget announced that for certain Disability Support Pension recipients aged under 35 years, the Government will introduce compulsory work-focused activities, such as work experience or education and training, to help increase their chances of finding and keeping a job.
A targeted review will be undertaken of Disability Support Pension recipients aged under-35 years who originally accessed the payment under different rules between 2008 and 2011. Work capacity will be reassessed against the current impairment tables and people with disability and will be provided with the support needed to allow them to develop their work capacity via the current Disability Employment Service (DES) network which is under is stress and under-performing now. This will force young people with a disability to access employment services sooner at a time when it may be important for them have the opportunity to develop independent living skills and develop social networks to take them into adult life.
Thankfully, people with disability who have severe and profound incapacity will stay on the Disability Support Pension. Current expenditure on the Disability Support Pension: $18,414,990.00. Current population on Disability Support Pension:821,738 (p184).
For the purpose of this paper I also included people supported by Pharmaceutical Allowance, $609,062.00 expenses in 2012 (p141), as people with mental illnesses and the ageing population require the support of daily medication which enables this group to participate in the labor market. However, getting adequate support for people with mental illness remains a challenge and it is not clear where mental health services sit within the NDIS.
Both McClure and the NDIS objectives match with stated objectives of employment of people with disability. McClure cautiously recognizes the hidden costs of disability such as transport, which is also reflected in NDIS support. Suitable accommodation, ideally universally designed houses are been called for by NDIS which will be a determining factor toward employment outcomes for people with disability and their independent living in local communities. It is difficult to get a job with no fixed address for your tax and employer records, correction, virtually impossible!
The language and imagery of devalued roles is revealed in McClure’s construction. McClure still ascribes to well-known images of people with disability as “menace” and “burden”, as McClure’s language suggests “risks”, “control” and needing “income management” and viewing some people as “burdens of charity”. This is emphasised by the language of mutual obligation and the need for reassessment. It also suggests a Risk of longer term dependence for both the carer and disability pension recipient on budget costs.
It is also important to recognise the social good of non-economic social role for people with profound disability while continuing to work towards inclusion of all people with disability in our social and and economic spheres of life.