Member for Canberra Gai Brodtmann MP, together with Minister for Human Services, Senator Jan McLucas, today opened the new Tuggeranong office complex for the Department of Human Services which was today aptly named in honour of social welfare pioneer, Louisa Lawson.
More than 1,600 staff will be housed in the new Department of Human Services office, which will deliver Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support services to millions of Australians.
Minister McLucas said she was proud to open the building named after Louisa Lawson ¬– writer, feminist, social activist and mother of Australian poet Henry Lawson.
Louisa Lawson’s great granddaughter Dr Elizabeth Lawson and Ms Brodtmann joined Senator McLucas for the official opening.
“Louisa Lawson was a reformer – an agent of change, a visionary. She sought to improve the circumstances and fought for the rights of all people, particularly women,” Minister McLucas said.
“Like the focus of Louisa’s life, the work carried out inside this building will also help improve the lives of everyday Australians through the effective delivery of social security payments and services.
Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann, said the office showcased the latest innovations in green office technology with materials and furniture selected for their environmental sustainability.
“The office environment has collaborative workspaces and features a range of new technologies, such as printers which require staff to swipe a smart card on every print job to reduce unnecessary ink and paper use,” Ms Brodtmann said.
“The building has been designed and built to achieve a minimum requirement of a 4.5 star National Australian Built Environment Rating System energy rating.
“It has double glazed windows, storm and grey water capture and re-use, 200kw solar power generation and environment dashboards to show energy use and give tips to staff on how they can lighten their eco-footprint.”
Australian poet and academic Dr Elizabeth Lawson said it was an honour to be present at the opening of a building named after her great grandmother.
“My great grandmother, Louisa Lawson, was a social activist who fought for women’s rights and many aspects of the social welfare system we take for granted today,” Dr Lawson said.
“She would be proud to know Australia now has a welfare system to protect Australia’s most vulnerable.”