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Country town gets inclusive

One country Victorian town is leading the way when it comes to inclusiveness for people with disabilities, the ABC reports.

Jason Huf can’t say very much.

But he shares a much-understood language among his colleagues at Prestonholme Nursery in Hamilton, a country town in western Victoria.

“Yeah,” he says to another young man, as he points to a colourful pallet of flowers.

“Yeah Jase, they’ll go back,” the other young man says.

He’s responsible for sorting and disposing of dead plants.

“When Jase started here he came with a carer, he was a teenager and we weren’t sure about his capacity or his safety,” his employer Alison Walter says.

“It became apparent that he was quite capable.

“We have certainly seen a lot of growth as a person, and it definitely has been a win-win situation for us and him.

“It’s been a great thing fVeronicaor our staff also, to learn to accommodate someone with special needs.”

In this country town, 23 employers have partnered with disability provider Mulleraterong Centre to take on people with disabilities.

Mulleraterong chief executive officer Annette Read says over the past eight years the program has provided placements for over 100 people.

“Our guys do such a good job at supporting the people with disabilities in their job placements or work placements that, not everything has worked out perfectly … but we have had a huge rate of success,” she says.

The centre also runs more than 20 other activities, including gym sessions and lawn bowls, that gets them out and about amongst the rest of the community.


It takes a village: The country town that’s pushing inclusiveness for people with disabilities (ABC)

Large image: Jason Huf has been working at Prestonholme Nursery in Hamilton for 15 years. / ABC News: Margaret Burin

Small image: Veronica, who works at Glen Howell Optometrist in Hamilton. / ABC News: Margaret Burin