Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher, and Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services, Sarah Henderson, have officially opened the new National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) national office in Geelong today.
The state-of-the-art accessible building, located at the site of the heritage listed Carlton Hotel in Malop Street, will house approximately 600 NDIA staff, centralising the Agency’s national operations.
Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher said the building led the way in accessible design and functionality and supported a range of work environments for people of all abilities.
“The new NDIA office exceeds building accessibility standards, with wider access to accommodate wheelchairs and scooters, self-opening and closing doors to cater for staff with varying abilities and integrated braille signage throughout,” Mr Fletcher said.
“Meeting rooms are equipped with hearing loops, the kitchens have accessible sinks and there is the ability to adjust lighting levels to meet staff needs, including for people with light sensitivity issues.”
One of the building’s key features is the Changing Place facility on the ground floor – a specially designed toilet with an adjustable adult-sized changing table, a tracking hoist system to support lifting and a circulation space to move around the room easily.
“The Changing Place facility exemplifies one of the core values of the NDIS in creating an inclusive society. Once it’s fully accredited, it will be accessible to people in the community who may need to use it, providing a safe and clean space,” Mr Fletcher said.
Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services, Sarah Henderson said the establishment of the new building had created hundreds of jobs and delivered a substantial injection to the local economy totalling more than $300 million over the two-year construction period.
“Beyond construction, the building will deliver continued economic benefits for the region,” Ms Henderson said.
“The annual ongoing economic impact for Greater Geelong will be about $334 million, including the value of jobs and flow-on benefits to the community.
“The NDIA has become an integral feature of the local community, reinforcing Geelong’s position as a centre of excellence for disability and personal injury insurance.”
NDIA Chief Executive Officer, Robert De Luca, said the new office exemplified what a truly accessible workplace looks like and would be well served by the NDIA’s diverse workforce.
“Almost 12 per cent of NDIA employees identify as having a disability, so this new office will ensure our entire workforce has the accessible facilities, technologies and work environment they need to continue the important work they’re doing in delivering the NDIS to Australians with disability,” Mr De Luca said.
The six-level building has a 5 Star NABERS (National Australian Built Environmental Rating System) rating. Staff from most of the Agency’s Geelong-based national business areas will move into the new office in the coming weeks.
More than 250,000 Australians are now receiving support from the world-leading NDIS.