Tuesday, 30 November 2021
Rod and I warmly welcome you to Government House for the presentation of the Barkuma employer awards, in the lead up to the International Day of People with Disability. (Dec 3)
Government House has had a long association with these awards, and we are pleased for to continue.
To the employers here today, I thank you for providing an opportunity for people living with disability to reach their potential.
While employment provides financial support through earning a wage, a job is much more than that.
It’s where people can extend their skills, grow in confidence, develop pride in what they do, and feel that they belong.
Your role in consistently providing Barkuma clients with a positive and supportive work environment is commendable.
To the employees, I congratulate you on taking up the opportunities and training provided by Barkuma and extending yourselves.
This is part of a journey to live your best life.
I know that many of you have celebrated significant milestones at your workplaces, including 15, 20, 25 and even 30 years of service.
Well done! That shows commitment and that you have found your place.
I am sure you have made many friendships, gained new skills and importantly given new perspectives to others through your contributions.
I have a long held commitment to promoting diversity.
Before becoming Governor, I was Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was proud to champion diversity and inclusion through a range of initiatives.
Not only was this the right thing to do, it produced many practical benefits to Australia as the Department became more and more representative of our nation’s diversity.
Yet, statistics tell a stark story of the challenges facing people with disability: they are twice as likely to be unemployed and face greater difficulties in finding a meaningful job.
Barkuma’s vital work in providing tailored support through its range of services and its Disability Employment Service, is an essential component in redressing this imbalance, in providing dignity and engendering respect for people living with disability.
I was pleased note that in 2020-21, despite the challenges of the pandemic, Barkuma celebrated 87 new job starts and supported 524 participants across 300 partner employers.
That’s a testament to the commitment and passion of the organisation in meeting the needs of your clients and the employing companies by providing tailored support.
I wish you well for your upcoming pledge campaign to raise awareness of an inclusive workplace.
To the companies here I would urge you to champion to your networks the benefits that Barkuma clients have brought to your organisation.
In that way we can create lasting change.
Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC
GOVERNOR OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA