Tuesday, 22 June 2021
Barker Electorate: Bridgeport Hotel
I rise to congratulate those associated with the Bridgeport Hotel and its magnificent $45 million redevelopment. I was lucky enough to attend the Bridgeport Hotel's 'Business Murray Bridge Breakfast', and I've got to tell you the redevelopment is impressive. That event operated as a bit of a soft opening. If it was anything to go by, this redevelopment is going to be a complete game changer for Murray Bridge. Investment on this scale is hard to fathom in that community, but it highlights the optimism of Ian Tregoning, of the Eureka Group, for Murray Bridge—$45 million invested in the community.
I share Ian's positive outlook for Murray Bridge, with its ever-improving connectivity to Adelaide. It now serves as a regional hub for the Mallee. There is no reason why Murray Bridge couldn't be the tourism destination of choice. Whether it's skiing on the river or proximity to Tailem Bend's motorsport park and the Monarto Zoo, Murray Bridge has a lot to offer—and investments like this continue to pin Murray Bridge on the map. An investment of $45 million changes lives, with the initial employment in construction, but now the task has morphed into operations.
So what of the operations? The local jobs program, a federally funded jobs program, has worked closely with the Bridgeport Hotel's management team. I give a shout-out to the manager, Mary-Lou Corcoran, who frankly is a force of nature. She and her team have streamlined the recruitment process by giving unemployed locals the opportunity to gain sustainable employment at the Bridgeport Hotel. More than 40 jobseekers have attended a specifically tailored hospitality skill set training program at TAFE SA and I'm pleased that almost all of them are now in employment at the Bridgeport Hotel. The local jobs program has witnessed people changing their lives, and this commitment and enthusiasm is to be commended.
This is an extension of what our government has done through the most recent budget—the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program. The Bridgeport and their management team have taken advantage of that program, and we've taken people from unemployment to a sustainable employment pathway? How did that happen? It happened because the government wants to see trainees and apprentices in employment but also because Ian had the wherewithal and the willingness to invest $45 million in the Murray Bridge community. We're grateful to him and I know those 40 young Australians who have found employment are grateful as well.