Speech by The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP

Official opening of Australian Disability Enterprise Barkuma Inc’s new factory

Location: Holden Hill, South Australia


Good morning everyone.

Thanks so much for having me here this morning, it’s very exciting. And I have to say, Kate, you do a great job as Ambassador for Barkuma Inc and I see you popping up everywhere so it’s great to have you as MC here today.

Before I continue, I wish to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land we’re meeting on- the Kaurna people- and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present.

I would also like to acknowledge the Hon Tony Piccolo MP State Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion, Social Housing, Disabilities, Youth and Volunteers. We’re both newly appointed and we’ve been seeing each other a lot at wonderful occasions such as this but also as we develop policy in terms of DisabilityCare Australia. I look forward to working with him into the future.

I’d also like to acknowledge Ms Miriam Smith Mayor of the City of Tee Tree Gully, Mr Chas Allen President of Barkuma, Mr Robert DePold Barkuma’s Chief Executive Officer, and all the employees friends and families from Barkuma who have come along today.

On behalf of the Australian Government, I would like to sincerely thank everyone at Barkuma for the great work that you have done and will continue to do including at your new home here in Holden Hill. I’m thrilled to have the chance to come here and meet some of you.

It gives me great pleasure to be here today to officially open this wonderful new factory at Barkuma Incorporated’s new Holden Hill premises, as one of my close-to-first openings here in South Australia since my appointment as Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers.

As Chas Allen has just described, you have come a long way and grown into a remarkable organization. From a small school that I understand was initially set up by foundation members set to ensure the education of their children in 1967 Barkuma is now one of the largest disability organisations in South Australia providing vital services to so many people with disability, their families and carers.

Here at Barkuma in Holden Hill I understand that around 60 people with disability are employed in jobs as diverse as shredding and document destruction, packing fruit, cosmetics and guest packs for new immigrants, and manufacturing cleaning cloths called ‘Adelaide Rags’, which supports the work of St Vincent de Paul.

Now that Barkuma has completed its new ‘clean room’ I understand you will be able to also seek contract work in the food and electronic industries in the future. Really looking at diversifying what employment you do have to offer.

Critically, if people with disability want to participate in open employment then Barkuma also supports them to find jobs with more than 300 employers in a range of industries including retail, hospitality, automotive, manufacturing, business and administration, and local government. Providing that range of employment opportunities is so critical to ensure people with disability have economic participation. Taking home a pay packet is critically important for one’s self-esteem but also to help with paying those bills which is critically important.

I know that Barkuma also assists high school students with disability to make a successful transition from school into the workforce. Anyone that can remember back to their school days would know that transition is a pretty daunting one and so having that support for those with a disability to ensure they make that transition successfully is really an important service.

And to this building- it is a fabulous renovation. I didn’t get to see this place beforehand but I understand you’ve put in a lot of hard work to transform this factory.

On behalf of the Australian Government we were very pleased to have been able to provide $700 000 to help cover the cost of renovating these fantastic new premises.

This new factory will be a great asset to the Barkuma community, and I am sure it will support the growth and extend the reach of the organization while also providing friendly and modern facilities for employees.

The Australian Government believes that disability should not be a barrier to a successful and fulfilling career.

We are committed to helping people with disability find work.

We are currently supporting around 325 ADEs across Australia, providing supported employment assistance to approximately 20,000 people who may not otherwise be able to work.

The Australian Government believes that ADEs have a very important role to play in providing meaningful work and training for people with disability.

We do have a 10-year vision for the future of supported employment which does give certainty and direction into the future.

In conclusion, I’d just like to congratulate you all. Barkuma truly does make a difference to the lives of such a significant number of people with disability, their families and carers right around South Australia.

It is my great pleasure to be here today. I want to again congratulate everyone involved and wish you the very best into the future but I don’t think you’ll need any luck- I think you’ll do that all by your selves.

Thank you for having me here today.