Oakeshott shows support for Disability Employment Sector with visit to Key Employment in Coffs Harbour | Rob Oakeshott | Independent for Cowper

Independent candidate for Cowper, Rob Oakeshott, this week toured Key Employment in Coffs Harbour to get more insight into the challenges facing the disability employment sector.

(left to right) Chris Worboys, CEO Key Employment Coffs Harbour, Michelle Worboys, Rob Oakeshott, Mike Swarbick, Jodi Wood
(L-to-R: Chris Worboys, CEO and Chairman, Michelle Worboys, Rob, Mike Swarbick and Jodi Wood)


“Disability Employment services are important in our region's small business community, providing jobs for more than 250 people. But they are now at a 'tipping point'," said Mr Oakeshott. "Several business have closed in the past six months."

“We have 22.8% youth unemployment in areas like Coffs Harbour and the Nambucca Valley. A thriving disability employment market can help solve this problem," Oakeshott said.


“Government recently changed their funding formula for local disability employment businesses and it is not working well. Several local businesses simply handed in their contracts and walked away. This helps no-one."


"Negative government policy towards disability employment makes this a trying time even for an established business like Key Employment. They do good work for local people and local businesses and government should be making it easier for them, not harder," Oakeshott said.


“I am particularly impressed by the building vision Key Employment have for their site. If we apply pressure at the ballot box it will help chase down the $2 million needed to make the Key Employment site one for all of Coffs Harbour to be proud of."
“The government, whether Liberal or Labor, need to re-think the structure of their latest round of disability employment sector funding. The intent may have been to increase competition, but the delivery is all wrong. They have flooded the sector with all sorts of new entrants who place little value on existing local structures, connections and relationships," Oakeshott said.


"It is, effectively, a funding cut by stealth, forcing local small businesses to put off workers."


"Job cuts, funding cuts, and an inability to meet demand is the opposite of what we want for a viable and growing disability employment network. There are a lot us determined to reverse this trend, and get unemployment levels down to the lowest in the region’s history. I know it is a big goal – but it is possible," said Oakeshott.


For further details, please contact Deb Spillane

E: media@oakeshott.com.au

M: 0418 603513