Michael Sukkar MP

Federal Member for Deakin
Shadow Minister for Social Services
Shadow Minister for the NDIS
Shadow Minister for Housing
Shadow Minister for Homelessness
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Constituency Statement: Realm opening

Over the most recent parliamentary recess I was very pleased to welcome the foreign minister, Julie Bishop, to the Deakin electorate, where we had the opportunity to open the new Centre for Knowledge and Innovation in Ringwood, which has been completed as part of the $665 million redevelopment of the Eastland Shopping Centre. The project, named Realm, is a state-of-the-art facility located in the Ringwood Town Square precinct. Key features of Realm include a new library; a comprehensive customer service centre combined with regional information services; a designated art gallery combined with flexible exhibition spaces; learning spaces for use by schools, community groups, universities and other organisations; a cafe; an interactive local history display—and the list goes on and on.

Importantly, it will also provide a regional one-stop-shop business resource hub that will strengthen competitiveness for local small businesses and entrepreneurs through unprecedented access to education, skills and business development services. Realm has been completed as part of a partnership between the Maroondah City Council, the Queensland Investment Corporation and the Commonwealth government, and it demonstrates how the private sector and different levels of government can work constructively together to achieve substantial outcomes for local communities. As part of this year’s budget I was thrilled to be able to secure $3 million for this project, not only for the way it will enhance a key civic space in the Deakin electorate but also, importantly, for the vital employment opportunities and productivity enhancements that will flow from it.

To further celebrate Realm’s opening, it was also wonderful to welcome the Prime Minister to the centre last week, where he was able to meet with local business leaders and with students from Ringwood Secondary College, who are already utilising the space. He was also able to take time to read Possum Magic to young people who were there with their families, assembled for story time in the new library.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody involved with the project. I want to particularly mention Mayor Tony Dib, Councillor Nora Lamont and council CEO Steve Kozlowski, as well as the whole team at Maroondah City Council who really put this project forward to me and sold the vision. That was what ultimately helped me to be able to advocate for this $3 million of funding. Of course I want to thank the foreign minister, Julie Bishop, for doing an outstanding job in opening Realm and the Prime Minister for visiting. This shows how dedicated this government is to innovation and how much emphasis this government will place on innovation. I look forward to that increasing in the years to come.

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