Monday, 3 June 2013
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on how the government is working to make the Geelong and Barwon regional communities stronger in light of recent announcements?
I thank the member for Corangamite for his question. It was a very great pleasure to join him today, as well as the member for Corio and the Minister for Disability Reform, Minister Macklin, to make a very important announcement for the community of Geelong. In this parliament we know that Geelong has been doing it tough. We know that it has been doing it tough after the announcement of the loss of jobs from Ford. Of course, those job losses are not only in Geelong, they are also in Broadmeadows, and they are of great concern to the government because our focus is always on jobs and growth. I had the opportunity to meet with Ford workers in Geelong on the weekend and to speak to them about some additional assistance we will make available for Ford workers in Geelong and Ford workers in Broadmeadows to assist with their retraining so that they can get the next opportunity.
But we also want to make sure that in Geelong and in Broadmeadows we are seeing new sources of opportunity, which is just one of the reasons that I was so delighted to announce today that the national headquarters of DisabilityCare Australia will be in Geelong. This national headquarters will employ 300 people. Geelong is the right place for this national headquarters—the right place because it is home to the Transport Accident Commission; it is a community with expertise in the management of disability, and DisabilityCare Australia will have a great home in Geelong. It is the right place because the Victorian government—and I congratulate the Premier—has stepped forward to see Geelong become home to the headquarters of DisabilityCare Australia with an allocation of $25 million of support. It is the right place because, of course, it is a community waiting to hear good news, and this is good news for Geelong. And it is certainly the right place because the members for Corangamite and Corio have been waging a very fierce campaign to put the credentials of Geelong before the federal government.
Today I am in a position to say we have listened and we have decided that the national headquarters of DisabilityCare Australia will be in Geelong. The launch office for the launch site is already there in Geelong, employing some 120 people. We are less than a month away now from the launch of DisabilityCare in Geelong and in other parts of the country. I was absolutely delighted to be there today to deliver such good news for the people of Geelong.
On indulgence: in the spirit of bipartisanship in respect of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the opposition applauds this move. It will be good for the NDIS and it will be good for the people of Geelong.