SENATOR THE HON KIM CARR
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INNOVATION, INDUSTRY, SCIENCE AND RESEARCH
SENATOR FOR VICTORIA
PETER KHALIL MP
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR WILLS
Nearly a quarter of the Commonwealth’s $22 billion contribution to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is for assistive technology devices such as wheelchairs.
Almost all of these devices come from overseas. They are not always suitable for the Australians who will use them, or available at readily affordable prices.
Labor will invest $500,000 in pilot programs to start an advanced manufacturing industry producing assistive technology devices in Australia.
The pilot programs will support Co-design Workshops organised by NORTHLink, partnership of industry, educational institutions and government in northern Melbourne.
NORTH Link has undertaken a survey of the local capacity to produce assistive technology devices, and believes that Australian industry can produce less expensive, customised products better suited to local users.
NORTHLink’s partners include La Trobe and RMIT universities, Kangan Institute of TAFE, the Melbourne Polytechnic and more than 20 local manufacturers. They would be willing to share design details with similar organisations in other states to support a national roll-out of the program.
Labor’s investment in the pilot programs complements our Local Projects, Local Jobs initiative to use Commonwealth procurement to drive the creations of local industries and jobs.
Once a local capacity to produce assistive technology devices is established, Commonwealth procurement could spur even faster development of the industry, with export possibilities.
The pilot programs WILL also support Labor’s plans to foster closer collaboration between industry, research institutions and TAFEs.