Video: Anthony keeps his job on the farm with workplace adjustments from JobAccess
New South Wales-based grazier Anthony Ferris discusses his experience of receiving workplace adjustments through JobAccess. After a workplace accident, Anthony required support to continue working on his farm. He contacted the Australian Government's JobAccess service and applied for the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF).
Workplace adjustments through JobAccess can help people with disability get work, keep work and progress their careers. The EAF gives financial help to eligible people with disability and mental health conditions and employers to fund work-related modifications, equipment, specialised training, Auslan services and workplace assistance and support services.
[The low sun glows golden above grassy farmland. A dark-haired man with a weathered face is interviewed in an old-fashioned living room. Text: "Anthony Ferris, Grazier."]
Anthony Ferris: After the accident friends and family advised us not to come back to the property. We chose to and since that time we've made a lot of changes. My name's Anthony. Together with Helen my wife, we have a grazing property in northern New South Wales.
[Grassy hills are punctuated with patches of dense bushland.]
Anthony: Two years ago, I was cutting down trees for cattle fodder during the drought and this particular tree I felled it and it fell in the wrong direction. And when it hit the ground, the tree speared back at me. The stem of the tree where I'd cut picked me up along the way and crushed me against the stump.
[EMERGENCY SERVICES SIRENS]
[An emergency medical helicopter takes off. On a farmhouse porch, a prosthetic leg leans against a chair. The leg has hollow calf-shape the colour of pink skin which finishes in a metal shaft 'ankle' that goes into a sturdy brown boot. The matching boot sits nearby.
Anthony sits, opens the zip running up his right trouser leg and removes a prosthetic leg that has a bare foot. Clad in a large sock, his leg stump finishes a short distance below his knee and has a large screw protruding from the end. Anthony picks up the booted prosthetic.]
Anthony: After the accident, I never thought I'd survive, but I'm here. Although my role on the property diminished dramatically since the accident after receiving help from JobAccess, I'm beginning to do a lot more things again. If I hadn't returned to the property, I would have found it very difficult to find work elsewhere.
[Anthony walks carefully up a grassy hill. From the hilltop, he gazes out across verdant farmland. He wears a red shirt, a large battered hat and sunglasses.]
Anthony: After the accident, we had to buy some specialised equipment for me to continue to work on the property. After contacting a local rural supplier, he had heard about JobAccess and suggested that I ring them and said that they may have been able to help him with the purchase of some of these specialised equipment. I dwelled on it for a couple of weeks, and Helen eventually said to me ‘Just give them a ring and see if they can help you out’.
[Anthony looks tiny amid rolling hills clad with grass and trees. On the porch, he dials a phone. A large scar on his left wrist disappears under his rolled-up shirt sleeve.]
Anthony: Ever since that first phone call my experience with JobAccess has been just phenomenal. When I made the first contact, I thought that I knew what I needed. They proceeded to send an occupational therapist to spend the day with Helen and I. And went over a lot of different aspects of the property and what I'd asked for, and he started to make suggestions that as I progressed, I may need assistance with other pieces of equipment and machinery.
[Anthony drives a farm vehicle. A herd of sheep run through a paddock. Some look half-shorn. Driving a tractor, Anthony carries a hay bale up a hill.]
Anthony: And at the time, I didn't think I'd ever be successful at those tasks, so I just brushed it aside. And now, as it turns out, just not that far down the track. They've (JobAccess) helped fund some of that equipment, and I'm actually using it very successfully.
[Outside a sheep run, Anthony stands by equipment that features a V-shaped cradle. With a lever, he lowers the end of the cradle. A sheep scampering up a narrow run is caught in padded machinery. Anthony hits a large button. He tags the sheep's ear, then releases it. A tractor approaches a truck loaded with hay. Driving the tractor, Anthony uses his left foot for the pedal. He presses two buttons, the tractor arm lifts a different forklift implement. With the tractor, Anthony positions a hay bale.]
Anthony: Everybody at JobAccess, they've always made me feel very comfortable and been very supportive. Since my initial approach to JobAccess when they helped me with a lamb marking cradle. They've also helped us with the funds to purchase a pneumatic side squeeze for sheep and a tractor which can be driven fully, automatically, and I can swap all implements on the front of the tractor from the cabin. Since coming back to the property we've had to spend a lot of money to make things more accessible for me and the money from JobAccess has just stretched our budget so much further and is going to really get us back on our feet.
[Wearing a visor and gloves, Anthony welds in a large shed. Helen watches him working in a sheep yard. Anthony drives a small ute.]
Anthony: So now I'm able to do a lot more around the property, driving the tractor, working in the shed, working the sheep yards, handling sheep with tagging, lamb marking, etc. I'm still restricted to what I can do around the property, but I'd be a lot more restricted hadn't I got some assistance from JobAccess. It's that everyday work that I can do out on the property that's really got me to where I am now.
[Anthony walks through the long grass on a hilltop. Verdant hills roll to the horizon.]
Anthony: I found it very difficult, like most people would, to ever ask or seek help. It's a really difficult thing to do and a lot of people feel the same. But now I feel: Just go out there, seek the assistance and get back to your life best you can.
[Long golden rays radiating from the low sun stretch across farmland. A dam's surface catches the rich glow.]
Voiceover: Since 2006, JobAccess has supported thousands of Australians with disability by organising and funding workplace adjustments to help them get work, keep work, and progress their careers. Call 1800 464 800 or visit www.jobaccess.gov.au to find out more.
[On a purple screen, a rectangular logo reads, "JobAccess, Driving disability employment." Below, white text reads, "1800 464 800, jobaccess.gov.au #EmployTheirAbility."
The Inclusively Made logo appears on a black screen. Below, text reads, "This film was created inclusively with people living with disability."]