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Disability pensioner desperate for work; offered 80c an hour

JOB HUNT: Brothers Matthew, 20, and Daniel, 18, Edgely are looking for work but find their disabilities scare away employers.
JOB HUNT: Brothers Matthew, 20, and Daniel, 18, Edgely are looking for work but find their disabilities scare away employers. Vicki Wood

CABOOLTURE mother Julie Reyer-Edgely is worried about the future of her two boys, 20-year-old Matthew and 18-year-old Daniel.

The brothers are both on disability pensions due to intellectual impairments, however, despite actively looking for work since they finished high school - 24 and 12 months ago respectively - they've had no luck.

"The second (employers) hear they have a disability it's 'oh we just don't have the time to train someone'," Julie said.

"I sit there in tears - it's not that these guys won't take any job, as long as it is to their ability and the employer is willing to take them as they are."

While Matthew has completed a retail course, Daniel is interested in tinkering with and being around vehicles.

The brothers have been signed up with employment agencies but found they do not provide them with reasonable employment options.

Daniel said one job he was offered one job for 80c an hour, which would be impossible to live off as he would lose his pension once he worked more than eight hours a week.

"How come these kids have to make do with 80c an hour?" Julie said.

"We send resumes out left, right and centre, but you've got to be truthful (about their disabilities)."

Julie said she could not see the sense in so many jobs requiring a certificate or paperwork to prove suitability.

"Forget about making people do courses to try to obtain a job, training and learning should be done on the job," she said.

"Even if you go and do so many hours in the job on the floor to show you can do it."

Matthew and Daniel said they simply wanted their skills recognised and to be given a fair chance to work.

Julie said her concerns had recently stepped up as the government considers an overhaul of the disability support pension.

"Society needs to change their outlook (about employing people with disabilities)," Julie said.

"At the end of the day, there's just not enough jobs to go around, and there is way too much red tape."

Member for Longman Wyatt Roy said the current pension situation called for an overhaul, but was mindful of the impact the changes could make to mental health services.

"We can always do more," Mr Roy said, acknowledging the number needing help was unknown at present but added the Coalition had vastly advanced mental health services.

"There is a lot of support out there, from EPPIC centres to Beyond Blue to a range of initiatives in place.

"One of the ideas floated is that you have a disability pension for those with a severe case who will not be able to work again, a temporary one for those who would and could work in the future, and we provide incentives and training for them to return to the workforce."

He said he understood the struggle many people had while looking for employment and more jobs were needed, but with 830,000 Australians on the DSP - one in 20 working-age Australians - and a further 200 a week applying, it was unworkable.

If you can help Matthew or Daniel, phone Julie on 0497341180.

Topics:  dsp cuts work


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