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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kromwyk

International Day of People Living with Disability

December 3 is the International Day of People living with Disability and I had the privilege to attend my second celebration at the Bedford Group.


This day marks the celebration of people living with a disability and everything that these wonderful individuals can achieve and how they contribute to our society.

This year I attend the celebrations at Bedford Elizabeth. This Bedford location is a co-packaging business that specialises in wine labelling, folding commercial laundry, dog biscuits packing and other general packaging work. Every time I visit this site I’m amazed at the energy and enthusiasm of the entire team and the excellence that is produced. One of the brands that we package for, Clipsal, reported a 100% accuracy rate!


As a part of the celebrations Bedford recognises people for their years of service. I handed out 15 awards, starting at 10 years of service. In one of the regions in South Australia that has experienced high unemployment rates, closing factories and the demise of Holden’s, I am proud to say that I handed out eight 10-year service awards to well deserving team members. The final award for the day was for a 30-year veteran of Bedford.



Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) help people living with a disability to work, have social engagement and develop self-worth that helps to improve mental health. Working at Bedford, the clients can challenge themselves, develop new skills and work here can be a pathway to open employment. The brands that support Bedford and other ADEs are partners in developing social inclusion through work.

But there are headwinds for the sector. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has added increased costs for ADEs in terms of transition, integration, support and compliance and will lead to some ADEs ceasing to exist. The Fair Work Commission’s recent ruling on the Supported Wage is also affecting this sector. While these reforms are impacting, it gives ADEs the opportunity to restructure, reform and refocus back on supporting clients and away from pure commercial outcomes.


At Elizabeth after the awards and a couple hundred boxes of pizza for lunch the team spent the rest of the day celebrating. From karaoke to henna tattoos to dancing and photo booths with friends the day ended up with a dunk tank where most of the managers, supervisors and support staff ended up dunked in the tank.

To me this is the essence of the International Day of People Living with Disability: recognition and a whole lot of fun.


Thank you everyone at Bedford Elizabeth for including me in your special day.

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