Unions ready to work with disabled people and Government to improve support


People working in the disability sector are ready to help improve and implement changes to the Disability Support System with the goal of empowering disabled people to choose the support that they need.

Unions support the Enabling Good Lives principles behind the changes that are being introduced in the Mid-Central region.

"People choose to work in the disability sector because they deeply care about supporting the independence and dignity of disabled people," PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk says. 

"What we’ve found is that our members in the workforce have first-hand experience of how we can best implement changes that will work for the disabled people they support and around the lives of the people providing the support."

"The changes in the system transformation must be made with care, respecting the voices of workers as well as the people they support," Ms Polaczuk says.

"It’s an exciting time for our members to be part of these big changes that better respect the voice of disabled people. 

"For these changes to work, we need to see a holistic approach that also listens to the voices of the workforce about structuring support work that is fair and sustainable so our members can continue to deliver the support that disabled people are choosing."

Unions want the changes to have a positive impact for people working in disability support, and continue the gains made in the Care and Support Workers Pay Equity Settlement.

E tū industry co-ordinator Alastair Duncan agrees the changes could be positive as long as all voices continue to be heard during the process.

"Disabled people are best placed to make their own choices about the support they need, and our members want to be resourced and enabled to provide the absolute best level of support to meet those needs," Mr Duncan says.

"The disability sector workforce needs to be fully involved in the implementation of this project, including comprehensive and ongoing consultation."

Unions agree the changes must be fully funded and sustainable beyond the initial pilot, so the level of service and values behind the principles can be maintained.

The CTU, the PSA and E tū have formed a working group with disabled people's organisations, service providers and the Ministry of Health to consider how the changes can be best implemented.