Victorian approach ‘making a huge difference’
Ability Works is a social enterprise that has businesses in metal fabrication and repair, packaging, and logistics.
It employs people with a disability and those who are socially disadvantaged.
“We would like to see the Federal Government implementing a social procurement policy,” Ms Boyce said.
She believes the approach has worked in Victoria.
“It’s making a huge difference to behaviour change. It’s creating more jobs for people from disadvantaged backgrounds,” she said.
Someone hoping to benefit is Jared Rogers — a long-time employee at Ability Works who lives with an intellectual disability and autism.
During the pandemic, he took a virtual welding class and passed with flying colours.
“I like to try new things,” Mr Rogers said.
Now the 43-year-old is training in-person to weld temporary fencing for construction sites.
He hopes to complete his certificate this year and switch his focus to construction full time.
“[It would] probably be a good idea down the path,” Mr Rogers said.
Mr McKinstry said he believed the huge government COVID-19 recovery spending was a once-in-a-generation opportunity.
He will keep pushing the Federal Government to establish a hard target for procurement from social enterprises, saying that setting targets would mandate that action be followed through.