Disability Employment Australia. Represent, Support, Resource

Hall of Fame

Paul Cain — Awarded August 2019

Paul worked diligently for Inclusion Australia, previously known as the National Council on Intellectual Disability (NCID), where his steadfast commitment to human rights is unsurpassed. Paul was a remarkable man whose pursuit was to ensure every Australian with an intellectual disability was afforded the same rights and freedoms as their peers.

As the NDIS moves to full implementation there is likely to be around 150,000 NDIS participants with employment supports in their plan. The NDIA and government are concerned whether these 150,000 people, the majority people with intellectual disability or autism, will receive reasonable supports—this was Paul Cain’s life’s work.

Paul worked in disability support, essentially focused on employment outcomes, for over twenty years. He started with DPI in Canberra and then worked at NCID for many years. After a short stint in Melbourne, he then moved to WA in 2005 and remained here. In his advocacy work Paul travelled back and forth to the eastern states, spending days and weeks at a time away from home so that politicians, policy makers and people in the field would confront hard but necessary messages.

Paul was strategic, motivated and passionate about his work. Paul was deeply academic in his approach, his mantra was that best practice must be determined by evidence-based research. He squared off with academics as he did with ministers, the media, Department officials, and the various sectors be that disability, providers or employers.

Sadly, Paul passed away late last year. The sector has lost one of the most sincere and respected authorities on disability employment. He was a leader in the fight for fair and equitable wage determination for supported employees in ADEs—and that fight continues. It can be said of Paul that he changed lives. It is true and he continues to do. Today the Australian Government has on its agenda how to assist tens of thousands of people with intellectual disability into open employment. We have a long way to go to achieve that goal but can acknowledge Paul Cain’s key role in getting here in the first place.  

Paul's award was accepted by his wife, Loretta Cain.