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Annual Report 2014–15

Feature Articles

Championing equal opportunity for people with disability

Defence Secretary Dennis Richardson (centre) on a visit to Gallipoli Barracks, Queensland. With him are (from left) Director-General People Strategy and Culture Justine Greig, Major Daniel O’Brien, Help Enterprises’ Coordinator of Post-School Services Susan Coleman, Julianne Lazarus, Emma Doran, Asif Musa, Elizabeth McCourtie, Priya Narayan, Jeremy Gawne, Andrew Hall, Cody Billington, Anthony Whitnall, Simon Wright, Major Russell Hamsey and Leigh Richmond.

Defence is committed to supporting all its members with a disability through programmes, reasonable adjustments, assistive technology, and networks such as mentoring and disability champions.

It is a focus that the Head of People Policy and Culture and senior disability champion, Richard Oliver, believes has the potential to revolutionise what people with disability can achieve in the workplace.

‘The nature of disability is widely misunderstood and there are a variety of misconceptions about disability and people with disability’, Richard said.

‘Not only can our staff continue to achieve at work if their circumstances change, but we have recruitment programmes that provide meaningful employment for those with disability.’

One such programme is the Defence Administration Assistance Programme (DAAP), which began service delivery out of Gallipoli Barracks in Queensland in September 2014. This programme offers administrative support services to Defence within south-east Queensland.

The programme is delivered by a local not-for-profit organisation, Help Enterprises, which employs people with an intellectual disability. Tasks performed by employees include, but are not limited to, photocopying, shredding, mail-outs, packaging, compiling and other administrative tasks.

For most of the staff, this is their first opportunity to participate in mainstream employment.

‘The programme plays a significant role in alleviating some of the administrative pressures for Defence employees in the south-east Queensland region, while at the same time providing a valuable employment opportunity to people with disability’, Richard said.

Help Enterprises’ Coordinator of Post-School Services, Susan Coleman, says the young people in her service have enormous potential and, when given the opportunity, have a rich and important contribution to make.

‘Providing administrative support to Gallipoli Barracks is paid employment for the DAAP participants who, more often than not, tend to be restricted to volunteer work in the community’, Susan said.

DAAP participants Cody Billington and Emma Doran enjoy working for Defence.

‘I like the people at Defence because they talk to me; they are helpful and nice’, Cody said. ‘I like the work, especially the mailroom job, and I like earning money so I can buy things.’

‘I love the Defence Force because I like the people there. It’s fun and everyone helps me out’, Emma said. ‘I like getting money to buy books I love.’