Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Workers on Trak as Minister opens Minda’s $1m furniture factory

Today’s opening of a $1 million furniture factory in Adelaide’s southern suburbs will provide greater employment choices for people with an intellectual disability.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today officially opened Trak Furniture, Minda Incorporated’s new manufacturing outlet, in Lonsdale, South Australia.

“Under the Howard Government’s Tailored Assistance Program more than $250,000 has been provided to Minda Inc this financial year to help develop and improve the business service, with $115,000 going directly to Trak Furniture,” Senator Patterson said.

“Furthermore, under the Disability Employment Assistance Program, the Howard Government will also provide more than $3.5 million to Minda Inc. in the 2004/05 financial year.

“Trak Furniture has been a success story for Minda since it started as a small operation at Somerton in 1986 employing 22 people manufacturing and repairing wooden pallets.

“Today it employs 33 workers who produce a range of wine racks, stools, coffee tables, chairs, beds and storage boxes for Adelaide’s leading furniture retailers. With plans to increase staff numbers to 50, Trak Furniture has now purchased a 2,000 square metre factory at Lonsdale to meet its growing business needs.

“Minda Inc. has been providing services to people with an intellectual disability for more than 100 years and is the largest non-Government disability support organisation in South Australia, providing support to over 1,100 people. This includes 400 people receiving supported employment or targeted support services.

“The Howard Government is committed to helping people with disabilities participate in the community by providing employment opportunities and support for workers and their families,” Senator Patterson said.

“The Howard Government in its commitment to disability employment services has made available funding of $421 million for these and other services in 2004-05. This consists of approximately $362 million in direct employment assistance to service providers, some 20 per cent more than what was spent last year, and $59 million for other disability related services such as advocacy, respite and print services.”