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Monday, 22 September 2014
Page: 10071

Mr MATHESON (Macarthur) (10:57): Today I wish to share the wonderful work that NOVA Employment is doing in Macarthur to support people living with disabilities to find employment. NOVA Employment is an organisation that provides employment programs that specialise in job-seeking assistance and post-placement support for people with intellectual or physical disabilities and those who have significant barriers to work.

I would like to particularly draw attention to NOVA's recent campaign to find 100 jobs for people living with a disability in Macarthur in 100 days. NOVA's Focus on Ability in Macarthur campaign has already transformed the lives of 65 Macarthur residents. The campaign involved placing job seekers with a disability in a range of different jobs across numerous industries including construction, manufacturing, retail, warehouse and administration. Employment has given these local residents a strong sense of accomplishment, pride and independence as they transition into the workforce. The Camden Advertiser reported on one of the campaign's success stories, Thomas Borland. Mr Borland thought that his disability would always exclude him from employment until NOVA assisted him to prepare for the workforce. I congratulate Mr Borland on his courage and strong determination in seeking employment and for adding his name to the list of successful job seekers. I also acknowledge Macarthur employers for opening their hearts and minds to these new employment opportunities. I encourage more local businesses to take up the wonderful employment opportunities that NOVA is developing into the future.

This year NOVA Employment is also running their sixth consecutive Focus on Ability short film competition. The competition aims to raise awareness of the abilities of people with a disability and to showcase extremely talented disabled people. NOVA Employment CEO Martin Wren said the competition was aimed at making people look beyond the obvious to see the talents of those with a disability. The competition culminates in an awards night held at Hoyts Cinema, Fox Studios, Sydney on 4 September 2014, with entrants having a chance to see their films premiered on the big screen and a chance to have their films shown on national television.

NOVA Employment's creative initiatives are important for breaking down social stigmas about people's ability to work with a disability. On my recent visit to NOVA's Camden branch I had the opportunity to see firsthand the positive impact of the organisation's services. During my visit I was fortunate to meet with Kylee Franks, NOVA's wonderful job coach, as well as NOVA clients Tayler, Lucas and Christopher, who told me about their positive experiences at NOVA and the skills they are learning at the centre. After learning about the impact that NOVA's programs have had in the lives of Macarthur residents, I am excited to have local trainees participating in work placements within my office in the coming weeks. I am honoured to represent a community that works so hard to support one another to improve the livelihoods of all members of our local community. I commend NOVA Employment for the employment opportunities they are creating for those living with disabilities within Macarthur and I encourage NOVA to keep up the wonderful work they are doing to change the lives of so many local residents.