Corio Community Cabinet Meeting
On Sunday 7 December, the Australian Government held its ninth Community Cabinet for 2008, the first in Victoria, at Corio Bay Senior College in Geelong. 357 community members attend a public question-and-answer forum with the Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers, followed by pre-arranged one-on-one meetings between individual ministers and community members.
The Corio Primary All Stars provided pre-meeting entertainment, performing a variety of musical and dance numbers including Hulayo, an African welcoming song, and The Lion Sleeps Tonight. The students then led the ministers and community members in the national anthem.
Mr. Paul Hooper, Acting Principal of Corio Bay Senior College, welcomed the Prime Minister and the Cabinet ministers to the school. David Tournier, accompanied by Jason Tournier on didgeridoo conducted the Welcome to Country ceremony on behalf of the Wathaurong people. Following the public forum Mr Trevor Edwards, CEO of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative presented the Prime Minister with a piece of glass art, the design depicting a traditional meeting place.
Following an introduction from Darren Cheeseman MP, Member for Corangamite and Richard Marles MP, Member for Corio, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spoke about the importance of taking Cabinet out of Canberra and to the people.
The Prime Minister outlined the Government’s response to the global financial crisis, highlighting the provision of government guarantees to bank deposits and the support of economic growth and employment as a means of stabilising of the Australian financial system. He noted that these commitments could be seen on a local level through the support to the automotive industry, infrastructure projects including the Geelong Ring Road and the education and digital revolution in the classrooms with funding for computers in schools.
The Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers answered a number of questions on topics including: the financial disadvantages faced by same sex couples; health services, including GP training and super clinics and aged care services; whaling; gun licensing; and the need for additional teaching resources to support the computers in schools program. Questions with a local focus included the infrastructure requirements of the Barwon Heads Road Bridge and the associated health issues of fluoride.
Following the public forum ministers met with individuals and community groups in a series of pre-arranged one-on-one meetings. These meetings provided an opportunity to discuss matters of personal and local concern directly with ministers.
Photos on this page provided by AUSPIC.