By Danielle Kutchel
Australian disability enterprise Wallara has opened its new, larger building at 160 Bridge Road Keysborough, in a significant expansion that could lead to more supported employment jobs in the future.
The new building leaves the organisation with plenty of room to grow, according to general manager of Wallara Logistics John Simcocks.And it seems the expansion is already paying off. During the official opening party on Friday 2 August, Mark Harrington of CPB Contractors announced on behalf of Rail Systems Alliance that Wallara would be contributing to the upgrade of signalling equipment for high capacity trains across Melbourne, by storing, picking, packing and sending equipment components to key locations for the infrastructure project.
Mr Simcocks said this was a significant win for Wallara’s roughly 140 employees.
“It’s a two year contract which hopefully should extend to five years if things go well,” he said.“It means more work opportunities for the people already here and it also means we can take on more people in supported employment in the next couple of years, because this is our first government contract and I hope we can get more.”
Premier Daniel Andrews was also on hand to help officially open the new facility, in an event that doubled as the organisation’s 60th birthday.
After a comprehensive tour of the facility, during which he was shown around by members of Wallara’s Employee Representative Committee, the premier announced $35,000 in funding for automatic doors on the building’s atrium as a finishing touch for employees.
“If somebody invites you to their birthday party, you should bring a gift,” he joked during the announcement.
He also expressed his pride in Wallara’s work and hinted that there may be further work in the pipeline for the organisation to take on.
Mr Simcocks said the premier’s endorsement of the organisation was important to employees.
“We’re not just a commercial enterprise, we’re about providing workplace opportunities for people of all abilities and he highlighted that, and the quality of work that he was able to recognise that our people produce.”