MINISTERS STATEMENTS: Specialisterne Australia




Ministers statements: Specialisterne Australia

 Thursday, 8 February 2018


Mr CARROLL (Minister for Industry and Employment) (11:43:02) — I rise to update the house on how the Andrews government is partnering with the social enterprise sector to deliver jobs for Victorians, in particular jobs for Victorians living with autism spectrum disorder. The evidence is in on the benefits of a neurodiverse workforce. Employees with autism bring exceptional skills to the workplace such as pattern recognition and enhanced memory, and they excel in repetitive tasks.

I want to pay a special tribute to my parliamentary secretary, the member for Eltham, along with the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing and the member for Wendouree, who has had a lived experience with autism, for their advocacy to me as the Minister for Industry and Employment to do something for people with disabilities and to provide pathways for them to live a sustainable life and have the dignity of work.

Last month I was very proud, on behalf of the Andrews government, to announce $200 000 for social enterprise Specialisterne Australia. Specialisterne has a goal of creating 12 000 career pathways for people with autism by 2025. They have got unique partnerships with the university sector, Hewlett‑Packard, SAP, Westpac and now the Andrews Labor government. This funding is very important. It will help people with autism get a job. It will also break down the stigma and misconceptions some people have about autism.

This is not a prop. This is the front page of the Preston Leader this week with Ivanhoe man Adam Walton. Adam lives with autism, having been diagnosed almost a decade ago. He has faced many barriers to employment, but now through the work and partnership approach of the Andrews Labor government teaming up with global enterprises like Specialisterne, Adam is now happily working. He is no longer suffering in silence. His employer is aware of his diagnosis, and he is making sure that he gets the skills to live a sustainable life and make a contribution to his employer and his community.

As Adam says in the article, this is a transformative program that has transformed his life. What we all know on this side of the house is that it is just the type of program those on the other side want to get their hands on and cut. They are all wanting to be the next Edward Scissorhands in the next Parliament with their commission of audit, and that is what they —

The SPEAKER — Order! The minister’s statement has concluded.

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