House debates

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Constituency Statements

Calwell Electorate: Business

10:09 am

Photo of Maria VamvakinouMaria Vamvakinou (Calwell, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to congratulate businesses in my electorate who have received funding from the Melbourne's North Innovation and Investment Fund. This was a fund set up by the former federal Labor government in order to assist local business in the northern suburbs of Melbourne to diversify and create jobs following the announced closure of the Ford car factory. The first offers were announced in October and I want to congratulate the following businesses. The Cottage Cheese Farm, in Broadmeadows, received $765,000 to construct a purpose built cheese and yoghurt manufacturing facility intended to create 17 jobs. Lakeside Packaging Management, in Campbellfield, received $1.19 million to upgrade its cardboard packaging manufacturing facility, creating 26 jobs.    Machinery Automation and Robotics, Tullamarine, received $400,000 to expand its innovative automation systems and create 10 jobs. Baxters Foods, in Campbellfield, received $1.3 million to establish an Asia-Pacific headquarters at its Campbellfield gourmet foods facility, and it intends to create 39 jobs. I want to commend these local businesses and look forward to their continued growth and success.

It has been a busy time in my electorate, with many community events taking place in the lead-up to Christmas, and I would like to make special mention of the Brite Services annual open day. Brite is the only provider in Melbourne's north-west that trains people with a disability and provides employment for them. It is a wonderful organisation that I am very proud to have working in my electorate of Calwell. Brite is made up of a wholesale nursery and a packaging plant, and offers training courses that are all geared towards getting its students employment-ready. Brite Nursery was also partially funded under the federal Labor government's Local Solutions Fund. It is now reaping the rewards of that investment we made into our people and it has been selected as a finalist for the 2014 Australian Training Awards .

Each year Brite holds an open day where the community gets the opportunity to visit to see what is going on and what Brite is doing largely for people with disabilities. Above all, it is that time of the year where we can buy from a huge selection of plants and herbs grown in Brite's sprawling nursery. We get to choose from lots of Christmas hampers for sale, enjoy the sausage sizzle and enjoy lots of cups of tea and great delicious scones.

Of course there is a long list of fantastic people who work hard to ensure that Brite Services remains strong and viable. I want to thank the chair, Helena Gillies, for her unwavering and tireless commitment to this organisation; deputy chair Beverly Lee, a parent of one of the Brite Services employees; Ben Kelly, the executive officer; and Paras Christou, the community development officer. I thank the many wonderful volunteers who work to ensure the viability of the organisation, in particular Ray Gorman and local councillors Victor Dougall, Helen Papstikatheodorou and John Gillies,