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Media Release by The Hon John Cobb MP

Sweet Smell of Success

Over $431 000 in Australian Government funding has given forty-two people with a disability in the Broken Hill area the opportunity to maintain meaningful employment.

The Minister for Community Services and Member for Parkes, John Cobb, today officially opened the Oasis Desert Lavender Farm, which will provide job security and a secure income for its supported employees.

‘I am sure that the farm will not only provide meaningful employment for people with a disability, but will also establish itself as a quality tourist attraction for the town,’ Mr Cobb said.

‘The farm features a lavender field for production and tourist viewing, a new shed in which people with a disability will produce lavender products and a retail sales area for the public to purchase the products.’

The Australian Government has contributed the funding through three programs:

  • More than $212 000 in recurrent funding has been provided under the Disability Employment Assistance Program which offers employment, support and assistance to people with a disability, enabling them to enjoy the same basic rights and opportunities available to all working Australians.
  • A further $129 000 in one-off funding has been delivered from the Business Services Assistance Package to provide practical assistance to disability employment services, increasing their long-term viability, their ability to pay award-based wages, and their capacity to be self-sustaining business enterprises.
  • $90 000 in one-off funding has also been provided under the Regional Partnerships program which partners the Australian Government with communities and local and state governments to provide opportunities for economic growth, improved access to services and sustainable benefits for regional and remote areas.

‘There are a number of people who need to be recognised for bringing this magnificent initiative to fruition. The staff and board of the Silverlea Employment and Training Service need to be recognised as the drivers behind this project,’ Mr Cobb said.

‘It would be remiss of me not to mention the marvellous contribution of the Broken Hill Community Foundation who initially gave seed funding for the trial of the lavender plantation.

‘I know the people of Broken Hill have always been supportive of the work done here at Silverlea and that it is very important to all of us that people with disabilities continue to have the social and personal benefits of being in the workforce.

‘The Australian Government is committed to providing employment opportunities for people with a disability, and the Lavender Farm is a shining example of how the government can work with local organisations to create great outcomes for all community members,’ Mr Cobb said.