Disabled Workers In Aus Are Being Paid As Little As $2 An Hour & What’s Worse Is It’s Legal

Stop what you’re fkn doing. We need to talk about the disability royal commission.

Unless you’ve been following the disability royal commission closely, chances are you’ve heard nothing about it at all. With all the election shenanigans going on right now, it’s become lost in a sea of Morrison and Albanese pics.

The inquiry is specifically looking into Australian disability enterprises (ADEs), where people with disabilities can find employment separate from mainstream workforces. The problem? ADEs are getting away with modern slavery, paying workers with disabilities as low as $2 an hour.

The worst part is it’s completely legal.

According to the ABC, a majority of ADEs are multi-million dollar businesses where approximately 20,000 disabled individuals work.

Disabled people have been exploited and discriminated against for years, but inequity at such widespread levels is disgusting. This is something that is rife right across the country and barely anyone is speaking about it.

In fact, the only publications to write about the inquiry’s findings are the ABC, the Guardian and the Adelaide Advertiser.

The first two publications aren’t exactly known for ripping into the government for allowing this shit to happen, they just state the facts. The Adelaide Advertiser on the other hand stepped to the plate after it was found that one of the worst offenders was the South Australian company Bedford Group.

According to the Advertiser, Bedford Group was individually named as an ADE that pays workers as low as $2 an hour. It is estimated to have raked in around $94 million in the last two years in profits as well as more than $20 million in JobKeeker payments. Let that fkn sink in.

Companies across the country are profiting off of the work of disabled people, which in most instances is no different to the work of non-disabled people.

Bedford Group’s CEO Myron Mann spoke at the royal commission. Well, he didn’t really speak. He mostly just dribbled slime onto the microphone and expected us to be convinced.

According to his claims, Bedford Group had no evidence of underpaying employees. He also claimed that his business would lose between $10-18 million if he paid people minimum wage.

Well, I guess you’re gonna lose between $10-18 million kind sir. Pay your fkn workers.

Here are some of the heartbreaking recounts given at the inquiry by disabled individuals who have worked in ADEs:

Greg Tucker told the disability royal commission that he is paid $2.50 an hour.

“I do a lot of work like sealing and packing,” he said.

“At the end of the day … I’m always really exhausted and [have] a bit of a sore back.”

Tucker should be receiving a minimum of $20. Minimum. His employer has agreed to raise his pay to $8.13 an hour.

Deaf man Phillip Shoolman told the inquiry that when he started working at an ADE he was being paid $5.65 an hour. Seven years later he now earns $12 an hour, still far below the minimum.

“I always looked at the cheap stuff and had to really make sure I was in control of my budget,” he said.

Blind man Mahdi spoke about how he was told that if he improved his work, he would receive minimum wage.

He was being paid $3.70 an hour until he asked several times for a pay increase to support his family coming from Afghanistan. His hourly pay was increased to $10.

“I feel that no one will offer me a job with a fair wage because of my disability,” he said.

“A wage of $10 an hour is nothing in my opinion. I believe the low wages earned by people with disability who work at the ADE is some kind of discrimination and that I was discriminated against.”

The fact this has been going on for so long in this country is quite frankly, disgusting. Non-disabled people are sitting at the top of corporations and effectively using legal modern slavery to increase their incomes.

We need to be talking about this at every chance we can and hold this fkd government accountable for their complete disregard of disabled peoples’ rights.

Remember this come election time. Before you vote, find out what your preferred party is doing for disabled Aussies. Enough’s enough.