Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

New employment opportunities for people with disabilities

People with disabilities will be given a greater variety of employment choices with the opening of a packaging room in Melbourne today.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today officially opened the City of Heidelberg Handicapped Persons Bureau ‘Clean Room’ as part of the organisation’s 30th anniversary celebrations.

“The ‘Clean Room’ will enable the Bureau’s business service, also known as Hi-City Industries, to expand its packaging operations to include non-prescriptive pharmaceutical products,” Senator Patterson said.

“The funding for the ‘Clean Room’ is part of the Howard Government’s $25 million Tailored Assistance initiative designed to improve the viability and sustainability of business services around the nation.

“As part of this initiative, Hi-City Industries was given a total of $79,000 of which $35,000 was to help the organisation construct the Clean Room. These remaining funds were used for other items including a new photocopier and a computer, a ride-on mower and hand mowers.

“The new ‘Clean Room’ will provide work for up to 12 of the 91 supported employees, which will give them a wider range of employment choices.

“Established in 1975, Hi-City Industries initially provided a manufacturing and packaging service before expanding its business operations by establishing a garden maintenance and landscaping service and plant nursery for its supported employees.

“Hi-City Industries also operate the Northern Region Employment Support Service (NRESS), which supports people with disabilities find and maintain work in the general workforce.

“People with disabilities want to participate fully in the labour market, they want the benefits that working brings and they want genuine help to make that happen.

“Partnerships such as this one between the Howard Government, the community sector, businesses and individuals will ensure people with disabilities achieve real gains.

“I am delighted to officially open Hi-City Industries’ new ‘Clean Room’, which will help people with disabilities to participate in the wider community and at the same time provide jobs and support for its workers and their families,” Senator Patterson said.