Tasmania is leading national efforts to address workforce issues in the disability services sector as part of the new National Disability Agreement.
The Minister for Human Services, Lin Thorp, today opened a National Conference on "Building Workforce Capacity: Satisfaction, Safety and Skills" in Hobart.
Ms Thorp said workforce capacity is one of the most pressing and complex issues facing the Disability Sector nationally. "People with disabilities are some of the most vulnerable members of our communities, and we owe them support and compassion."
"People with disabilities also have a right to expect high quality services that meet their needs."
"At the same time, we need to look after the members of the disability workforce with front-line responsibility for meeting those needs.
"Tasmania has recognized the need to lift wages for the disability sector to ensure we continue to have an effective workforce able to deliver the services people with a disability need.
"The Tasmanian Government has agreed to a $7 million assistance package to enable the sector to meet pay rises for 1,500 disability support workers across the State.
"It's not been easy in the current climate to find the money, but we recognize that the disability workforce includes some of the lowest paid workers in the community and this is a priority for investment."
Ms Thorp said disability workforce capacity had been recognized as a priority for action under the National Disability Agreement.
"Tasmania is the lead jurisdiction for the key Project in this priority area, which is being undertaken by the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council.
"Stage 1 of this exciting project will deliver a national strategy based on a 15-20 year plan addressing qualifications, training and cross-sector career mapping issues, and establishing the disability sector as an 'industry of choice'."
Ms Thorp also commended National Disability Services' role in raising and addressing workforce issues through their National Workforce Project.
"I congratulate National Disability Services for convening this extremely important and timely Conference," Ms Thorp said.
The National Disability Services Conference Building Workforce Capacity: Satisfaction, is being held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Hobart on 4-5 May.
Topics to be covered include: recruitment, leadership, Occupational Health and Safety, working with clients and training opportunities.
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