Australian government to provide funding for WA disability employment provider Activ Foundation

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Australian government to provide funding for WA disability employment provider Activ Foundation

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WA's biggest NDIS provider is getting a much needed boost, giving employees more time to find alternative work.

The Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth announced this week the Australian government will provide up to $7.8 million to Activ Foundation in order to keep its large scale industrial work sites open for another 18 months.

The boost follows an announcement from May, where Activ announced its intention to close work sites in Western Australia, leaving more than 750 supported employees with disability without work.

Activ is WA’s largest registered National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provider, and supports more than 1,800 individuals and their families across the state. 

They offer NDIS pre-planning help, accommodation, education and employment services. 

The closures were expected to begin from mid-July this year, but thanks to the Albanese and McGowan governments, it’s been pushed back to the end of 2023 in order to ease the transition and give workers more time to find jobs. 

Activ Chief Executive Officer Michael Heath said despite significant efforts, lobbying and discussions, no support was offered prior to the May announcement.

“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.”

Premier Mark McGowan said this had been his number one priority since Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was elected. 

“This funding, combined with Western Australia’s funding commitment will support an orderly transition that ensures supported employees working at Activ work sites have time to make informed choices about their future and people with disability have continued access to services,” he said. 

Minister Rishworth said she was concerned the timeframes announced by Activ did not give enough time to work with their employees and families in assisting them to find new employment. 

“Many of the supported employees have been with Activ for decades and this announcement came as a significant shock to them. We need to put these employees first and make sure they receive the support they need to manage this significant transition in their lives,” she said.

“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,” said Mr Heath.

“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.”

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