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Monday, 3 June 2013
Page: 4900


Mr MARLES (Corio) (22:22): The implementation of DisabilityCare Australia will be a revolution for people with a disability and their carers in this country. Much has been said about the significance of it and tribute has been paid to the likes of Jenny Macklin and the Prime Minister, Bill Shorten, Jan McLucas and others who have worked tirelessly in this place to assist that campaign.

That Geelong is a launch site is a wonderful moment for people with disability and their carers in the City of Geelong. Today's decision to base the national headquarters of DisabilityCare Australia in Geelong is a wonderful feather in the cap for Geelong. This campaign has emanated from the civic leadership of Geelong, based on the idea that Geelong is the home of the Transport Accident Commission in Victoria, as well as being a launch site of DisabilityCare in Australia. This lends itself perfectly to Geelong being the national headquarters of Disability Care Australia.

It is true that the decision last Thursday week by Ford to cease making cars in Australia from 2016 did add some momentum, but the campaign to see the headquarters of NDIS in Geelong has been run for a year or more. It is an enormous tribute to those who have run the campaign. I want to thank the Victorian government for their support, and particularly to thank Minister Jenny Macklin for her advocacy in relation to this issue, and most particularly our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, for making the decision to have the headquarters of DisabilityCare Australia based in Geelong.

For all the credit ascribed to people for this decision over the last 24 hours, most of the credit, the lion's share, goes to the civic leadership of Geelong who have run a fantastic campaign for more than a year to see this happen. I want to acknowledge some of those people. Keith Fagg, our mayor, launched the campaign a couple of months ago. Councillor Kylie Fisher, who has the portfolio for community development within the City of Greater Geelong, also tirelessly worked in relation to this campaign. Former mayor John Mitchell deserves to be very proud today. The Committee for Geelong has played an enormous role. Michael Betts, its chair, and Janet Dore its deputy chair is also the CEO of the Transport Accident Commission, along with Rebecca Casson, CEO for the City of Geelong. The former CEO of the Committee for Geelong, Peter Dorling, and the former chair, Jim Cousins, also played a role, as did Frank Costa who is always at the centre of the great achievements that occur in Geelong.

G21, the regional alliance of five councils in the region, along with the City of Greater Geelong also played a significant role. Ed Coppe, its chair; Elaine Carbines, its CEO; and its board consisting of Barb Abley, Michael Malouf, Jason Trethowan and Bernadette Uzelac; along with the other mayors who participate in G21, the Deputy Mayor of the Borough of Queenscliff, Bob Merriman; Libby Coker, the Surf Coast Shire Mayor; Lyn Russel, the Mayor of Colac; and Jenny Blake, the Mayor of the Golden Plains Shire. Jane Den Hollander, the Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University, Grant Sutherland, the CEO of Gordon TAFE have also been fantastic, as have the media in Geelong. The Geelong Advertiser, The Geelong Independent, K-Rock/Bay FM. And the state MPs: John Eren, Lisa Neville, Ian Tresise and Gail Tierney and from the government state MPs David Koch and Andrew Katos who have been very important in advocating to the Victorian government, along with David O'Brien.

Most of all there are the disability groups of Geelong of which there are many. Scope, Encompass, Kids +, Karingal, St Lawrence, Vision Australia, the Victorian Deaf Society, Villamanta, the Barwon Disability Resource Centre, Disability Rights and Advocacy Service, Gateway, Mackillop, Barwon Valley School, Nelson Park—and the list goes on. All of these have played a very significant role in the advocacy for this decision.

I want to thank my colleague Darren Cheeseman who with me has really enjoyed the privilege of providing some advocacy on behalf of this in this place. I feel very lucky that I live in a city with that sort of leadership. If you look at the response to the decision by Ford last Thursday week and the campaign around this, they have done a great job.

This is a decision which is for ever. This is a decision which will change the very character of Geelong. We are a manufacturing city. We are lifestyle city. But as a result of this decision, along with the TAC, we can now claim that we are a centre of public administration excellence. That will very much change our character going forward. It is the first time a major federal government agency will be located outside Canberra or Sydney. That is an enormous feather in the cap of Geelong. I want to thank everyone for the role they played in making this happen.