Thank you very much Sue [Sinclair] and it is such a great pleasure to be here. And can I also acknowledge the fantastic performance that we heard just before.
It is terrific to be here and it's a pleasure to join not only the ATO Commissioner, Commissioner Jordan, but also a number of his fellow commissioners, the people who work in this fabulous building, my very good friend and colleague Lucy Wicks – who is the Member for Robertson and who has been such a driving force behind this building in conjunction with the ATO and also the local mayor here Jane Smith – it's great to have you here.
As many of you know, this site is the result of years of planning and signifies for us as the Turnbull Government part of our plan to drive investment in regional cities and also support the development of skilled and professional workforces outside of city centres.
Since this new site was announced in 2014, the Government has more than doubled its original commitment to deliver new jobs to Gosford.
This would not have happened if it had not been for the hard work of the local Federal Member, Lucy Wicks, who has been absolutely instrumental in ensuring the people of Gosford have been put front and centre throughout the development of this site.
People here in Gosford know that they have a very passionate advocate and a really wonderful and caring member in Lucy.
It's so exciting that the ATO has already welcomed over 300 staff to this new site.
The majority of these staff are new to the ATO and are locals from the Central Coast region.
Once recruitment is complete, this new site will see to the creation of 600 new jobs on the Central Coast, demonstrating the Turnbull Government's long-term commitment to employment and service delivery in the region.
It is great to see that so many people have already commenced working out of this office, providing advice and assistance to thousands of Australians taxpayers each week.
I understand that staff working out of this site will fill a range of roles; from customer service to legal and accounting functions – all vitally important for the ATO's work.
As Commissioner Chris Jordan said, the ATO plays a crucial role on behalf of the Australian community. The revenue it collects funds the vital community services that we all enjoy from our defence force through to our old aged pension system.
The ATO is not the only agency that will benefit from this fabulous new site.
In the past week, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has also taken up residence on the lower ground floor.
It's great to have them here. The NDIA will co-tenant with the ATO as an ongoing arrangement, with approximately 40 work spaces.
Benefits for Gosford
Having the ATO office here in Gosford is a huge boost for the Central Coast region.
The influx of ATO and NDIA staff here in Gosford will bring real economic and social benefits to Gosford and the Central Coast, driving even more economic activity to local cafés, local restaurants and also connections with local businesses.
Importantly, the office will establish a vital link with tertiary campuses in the area, providing career opportunities for the young people here in Gosford.
It is also great to see the ATO actively engaging with the local Gosford community, particularly through the information sessions that were held last year. I have heard from Lucy that these sessions were very informative and gave local businesses a great snapshot and insight in to the work that is performed across the board at the ATO.
The Turnbull Government remains committed to supporting regional development and the local Gosford community, and I congratulate everyone who has worked so hard to make this office a reality and who have been in the construction of this new building. It is not an easy task but it is a task that has been well worth pursuing.
Today, this building is formally opened. You now have the chance to have a look through, meet staff, ask questions and network, and see for yourself just how vibrant the ATO and the NDIA coming to Gosford will continue to be for this local community and how they can help.
This is an exciting milestone in the ATO's history and demonstrates our long term commitment to employment and service delivery in the Central Coast region.
Today's official opening also highlights the Government's efforts to boost investment in the region and provide jobs.
Thank you to everyone who has been involved, particularly to the ATO Commissioner and to Lucy Wicks, the local member, who have been such a driving force. It's a wonderful achievement and it's one that will leave a lasting legacy.