House debates

Thursday, 14 May 2020


COVID-19: Forde Electorate

4:35 pm

Photo of Bert Van ManenBert Van Manen (Forde, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The community of Forde has done a terrific job over the past couple of months, coming together and supporting each other during times of adversity as they have done many times in the past. Many families are doing it incredibly tough, with some having to seek government assistance for the first time in their lives. Businesses have had to close or reduce hours due to social-distancing restrictions, but these are critical to slowing down the spread of COVID-19. Despite this, they have stepped up, risen to the challenge to adapt and innovate their business and also support their local communities.

Toni Wilson from Wil Soon Espresso, a mobile coffee van, was offering free coffees to families who are struggling and she also offered free coffees to those waiting in the queues at Centrelink. Scott from Coffee Reserve in Upper Coomera started a pay it forward initiative for his customers. Scott says he likens himself to the modern barman, offering two Cs: caffeine and conversation, which, sadly, is in short supply at the moment for obvious reasons—I mean the conversation, not the caffeine. Small businesses like Scott's and Toni's are the engine room of the Australian economy, which is why it is critical that we all support them on our road to recovery by choosing to buy local and buy small.

Locally, the Morrison government is supporting a number of small businesses in the electorate of Forde with critical investments in the face of the coronavirus pandemic through our Manufacturing Modernisation Fund, which will support 200 projects across Australia worth more than $215 million. Businesses like Merino Country in Shailer Park, a local manufacturer of merino wool products, is set to receive over $400,000 in funding to modernise and boost their capability. This will allow them to bring wool processing back to Australia and signals a manufacturing renaissance for much of the Australian wool and garment industry.

We are also supporting ATP Science in Loganholme with a million dollar investment in an innovative high-tech protein bar line which will allow them to expand their production capacity from 5,000 bars a day to more than 27,000. This investment will boost Australia's export capability in the growing health foods and sports nutrition markets.

The Morrison government is also supporting the high-tech health sector with a critical $100,000 investment in Tanah Merah based business Mansalem. Dr Dares Salaam has completed a masters in maxillofacial prosthetics—artificial eyes, ears and noses—through Kings College London. Our investment will help her expand the business into the cutting-edge field of maxillofacial prosthetics, a specialised field which is currently limited to the public health sector in Australia.

This is a clear sign for all health industry leaders that Australia is open for business. We are open for investment and we are an investment destination for these global and local businesses that want to expand and grow their manufacturing capabilities. These investments are so important now, more so than ever, as we have experienced in recent times how vulnerable our supply chains are to global events which impact greatly on our local manufacturers and businesses. This is why this fund was spearheaded in the first place. But, importantly, it shows the forward-looking nature of this government because this fund and this program was put in place well in advance of the arrival of coronavirus. It just shows that our forward-looking nature has led to solutions at a time when the nation really needs it. In addition to that, locally, the Morrison government is investing, and continues to invest, in infrastructure upgrades across the electorate, generating jobs, generating business activity and creating the opportunity for families to get home safer and sooner, such as a $195 million M1-M3 gateway merge upgrade, which was delivered ahead of schedule. I know my colleague sitting next to me, the member for Bonner, is equally pleased about that outcome. There's the $4.5 million Jellicoe Street and Station Road intersection upgrade at Loganlea in conjunction with the Logan City Council. I know that there is now detailed design work on the $2 million upgrade to the Williamson Road and Days Road intersection upgrade in Upper Coomera. This is just a small example of the projects that the Morrison government is continuing to rollout to benefit the Australian economy.