Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Opening of the Stretton Centre, Adelaide

Speech
6 September 2012

Thanks very much Mayor, Premier, vice-chancellors, my parliamentary colleague, Nick Champion, and friends all.

The portfolio of population was created for the first time a couple of years ago and when we came out with the Sustainable Population Strategy, Sustainable Communities, it was recognised that one of the chief challenges of population that we had in Australia weren't how many people we had but where they lived and how they lived.

The population debate was very much driven by challenges of congestion, of people living in the streets, that couldn't cope with extra traffic that was coming on and as we worked our way through that strategy we came to the conclusion that as long as our planning processes led to a situation with all the houses at one end of the city and all the jobs at the other end of the city we would never keep up.
                    
Now some planning started to get around that by improving infill in the city areas but it's not simply a case of accepting that's where the jobs will always be and let's put more people there.

It's also a case of having a program designed to put jobs where the people live and that's why the Suburban Jobs Program was established. Suburban Jobs Program existed in the order of about $45 million and we had the option of running the program like a program where you do tiny things in a whole lot of places or working on the basis that we would have three big projects. We went for the latter option.
                    
The first of those projects was announced a few weeks ago in western Sydney. The second of those projects I get to announce today. The vision for the Stretton Centre is a vision for a local employment hub.

Time after time when Nick Champion's had me out here, he's been talking about the needs of the community and he's been talking about Elizabeth. Employment has been at the key of the challenges that he represented in the Federal Parliament.
                    
Certainly every engagement I've had with the Premier as well has been very much looking at wanting to make sure that the employment opportunities that should be made in this state are to be made available. What we have with the Stretton Centre is effectively an employment hub that will have three roles, a role of research, a role of training, a role of business development.
                    
In research part the research is to work out how can we from this part of Adelaide increase the employment opportunities so that people can get jobs closer to home. As a registered training provider training will be able to be here when Stretton Centre is established, it will be able to be established as a hub for training connecting people to jobs. But those jobs also have to exist, have to be created and have to be developed and that's why the business development part of the Stretton Centre is such an important part of the program.
                    
To establish a hub for local employment like this isn't cheap. The total cost of the project is $15.3 million and often in these situations for Federal Government funding the deal is a dollar for dollar basis. We've been able to go a lot better than that on this occasion. I'm pleased today to announce as the Federal Government's contribution to the Stretton Centre $11.3 million which guarantees as of today we know it's going to become a reality.
                    
We have with that then the changing of lives that begins as of today as a result. The jobs in getting the centre up and running but most importantly the jobs that then come forward and the connections that come forward as a result of the Stretton Centre having been established. What needs to be remembered is employment always changes people's lives. Never underestimate the impact of local employment. Local employment means somebody gets an hour of their day or more back that they otherwise wouldn't have had.

It's the difference between having that extra time with your kids before mealtime at the end of the day, or whether it's all gone and it's nearly time for bed by the time you get home. It's the difference between actually having that privilege which often does become a rare privilege of having half-an-hour of sunshine at the end of the day. It changes the way that people live by having a job closer to home.

Today with the Suburban Jobs Program was the second of our national announcements I'm very pleased to confirm to you all that thanks to the advocacy that's been made very strongly is to become real with the Suburban Jobs Program we will have one of the key employment hubs for Australia located right here.