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News & Updates

6/7/2017

Geelong Advertiser Opinion Piece - Comcare

                                     Leading the world from Geelong on Social Insurance

 

Fences have gone up around the old Carlton Hotel recently and work on turning the old art deco pub into a modern home for the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has begun.

Directly behind this site, a crane towers above our city's tallest building, the soon-to-be home of WorkSafe. And close by is the organisation that started Geelong's public service shift, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).

While these buildings are physically transforming Victoria's second city, it is the economic impact of the three organisations coming to Geelong that is truly changing our region.

Close to 6,000 people in Geelong are employed in the social insurance and disability sector that the NDIA, TAC and WorkSafe are part of. It is an industry worth more than $600 million to our local economy.  These are massive numbers for a city the size of Geelong, and vital for a region that has recently lost jobs from major employers.

Now is the time for us to raise our collective hand and put forward the case for further public service jobs to come to Geelong.  The Federal Government'sSenate Location of Corporate Commonwealth Entities Orderdefines that, as Geelong is within 150 kms of Melbourne it is not considered 'regional'.  However, investment in Victoria's second city is vital for the local areas it supports.  This is why the Committee for Geelong is calling for Comcare to be relocated to our city.

As the agency responsible for the workplace health and safety of Federal Government employees, the benefits for Comcare being located alongside some of Australia's most innovative and successful social insurers are immense.

Make no mistake, the TAC, NDIA and WorkSafe are at the forefront of international social insurance practice. In our city, you will already find world-leading skills and experience in this field. Coming to Geelong would enable Comcare to tap into this expertise, and collaborate with these three organisations.

For the Federal Government, Comcare and Geelong are a perfect match. The government has to ensure these re-locating agencies can access the skills and resources they need. Geelong is a proven home for public service agencies, particularly for those in the disability and injury sector. The CEO of the TAC recently noted that his organisation has achieved record results since moving to Geelong eight years ago, and this speaks volumes of the quality of people and services available in our city.

Chairman of State Government agency Development Victoria, and past CEO and Chairman of the TAC and WorkSafe, James MacKenzie, has also backed Geelong's Comcare case. In a high-level briefing to the Committee for Geelong, Mr MacKenzie said it was "difficult to imagine a city with a stronger claim than Geelong, given the flourishing social insurance cluster."

The Committee for Geelong'sWinning from Secondreport highlights the need to differentiate our city from others around Australia and internationally. The report identifies the social insurance sector as being unique to Victoria's second city, and one of the industries in which Geelong already has a competitive advantage to build on.  In addition, as highlighted in the Federal Government'sGeelong Region Local Investment Plan, our city is now "indisputably Australia's social insurance capital."

It is ultimately up to our community though; these industries - and the jobs that come out of them for our children and grandchildren - will not just naturally emerge. So let's lead the world from Geelong on social insurance and get behind this push to bring Comcare to our city.

 

Published in the Geelong Advertiser 07/06/2017

 

 

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