Today’s announcement that the Federal Government will help keep Activ’s large-scale employment sites open is welcome news for more than 700 people with disability in WA, as well as the Activ staff who support them.
The new Albanese Government has agreed to support the continued operation of its large-scale employment sites for at least 18 months while Activ fast-tracks development of a new skills-based Academy and grows its offering in alternative employment services.
Activ Chief Executive Officer Michael Heath said he was pleased Activ’s extensive lobbying of both State and Federal Government’s had resulted in a positive outcome.
“Activ’s large-scale employment sites employ more than 700 people with disability in Western Australia,” Mr Heath said. “I am relieved that, after weeks of negotiation with the new Federal government, we have achieved a positive outcome for our supported employees and their families, as well as the Activ staff who work alongside them.
“While this additional funding does not fully close the NDIS funding gap, it is a common-sense outcome that will help offset the losses caused by changes to NDIS funding.”
Mr Heath said Activ had engaged in extensive discussions with the WA Government and the prior Morrison Government to try and address the funding issues before reluctantly announcing the closure of its large-scale sites in May.
“Despite significant efforts, lobbying and discussions, no support was offered prior to our May announcement,” he said.
“But we kept trying. Following the Federal election, we undertook rapid discussions with the new Albanese Government and the McGowan Government, that I’m pleased have led to this positive outcome. We’re relieved and happy for our supported employees and staff that the message finally got through.
“Prime Minister Albanese, Minister Shorten and Minister Rishworth all understand the dire situation that Activ is facing because of the shortfall in NDIS funding for large scale employment sites and they acted quickly in response to our request for help.
“The funding announced today will go some way to fill the gap in NDIS funding, allowing us to continue to run Activ’s large-scale employment sites, increase our alternative employment opportunities and establish our new Activ Academy.
“I am extremely grateful to our staff, our supported employees and their families, many of whom took up the fight to help save supported employment opportunities at Activ.
“From messages of support and offers of help, to the countless people who worked late nights and weekends to achieve positive outcomes for people with disability – your efforts have been noticed here and across Australia.”
Activ offers supported employment to many of WA’s most vulnerable people with disability, offering a safe environment for them to engage in meaningful employment and develop workplace skills.
Activ has a wide and varied impact on the Western Australian community beyond employment services, including community support and accommodation services for people with disability living at home or in supported accommodation.
Activ’s Registered Training Organisation (RTO) – Activ Pathways – enables people with disability to achieve training and education outcomes and the organisation’s annual City to Surf has become an iconic event since it was launched in 1975.
The 70-year-old organisation is developing a skills-based Academy to sit alongside the RTO, to assist more people with disability to engage with the workforce in community-based open employment settings.
In addition, 2022 saw Activ launch its first lottery – Activ Better Odds Lottery – to enable the WA community to offer direct support to WA’s largest charity. Proceeds from the lottery will aid the organisation to become less reliant on limited NDIS funding and deliver more value to its customers and supported employees.