Transcript - Salvation Army Employment Plus mobile bus program launch - Canberra

*Check against delivery*

I want to say a big thank you to Major Peter McGuigan and Dr Graeme White from The Salvation Army.

Thank you very much for inviting me here today and thank you all for showing up today. It is really important that we are here today. I begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the lands on which we are meeting and pay my respects to their elder's, past, present and emerging. I reiterate the commitment of the Albanese Labor Government to enshrine a Voice in the Constitution for First Nations peoples. It is so important that recognition is made in the constitution. I look forward to taking that step with Canberrans and with my wider community later this year.

This mobile bus is nothing short of amazing and you really should not underestimate the difference this is going to make to regional communities. We are home to generous, hardworking and resilient people across the regions. Sometimes though, the things that are taken for granted in the cities are things that we just do not have access to in our regional communities.

Public transport is not a thing for so many of our towns and villages. Even across Eden-Monaro, access to good connectivity, the ability to have a driver's license and access a car can be difficult. What this mobile bus is going to do is bring services directly to our communities. Small communities like Bibbenluke, Bombala, Berridale plus bigger centres like Yass, Cooma and Jindabyne, as well as Harden.

This will make a huge difference, because it is bringing a service to people, and that's something we always get behind. The Albanese Labor Government is making sure that we recognise local ideas and solutions. This bus is bringing services to people so that we are not always asking them to take time out of their day to travel and find these services.

This bus enables people who may never have been able to get job ready without this support. It enables people to access wrap around services through The Salvation Army. We have heard today this has evolved from the 1890s to the 1990s. Now we are in 2023, and this service will be nothing short of extraordinary for a lot of people, who perhaps would not take that initial step to go to a service to be job ready. They might not even ask for the assistance when they need it.

My credit goes to The Salvation Army, who are always there - rain, hail or shine - pun intended. I have seen this first-hand during multiple natural disasters, where we have had The Salvation Army pick up the pieces for communities, for local organisations, and for individuals who have been directly impacted.

They continue to do this. This mobile bus service again shows us that they are not only there for jobseekers when they are ready to take that step. They are here for the wider wrap around services that so many people in our communities need but miss out on, if they could not access to a mobile service like this.

The bus is going to be open and rolling into a town near you soon, and I am excited to officially launch it today with The Salvation Army.