I rise to applaud the excellent work done by a great little organisation in west Sunshine called A Gesture and the employees and trainees who work there. A Gesture is a not-for-profit business that, in partnership with SecondBite, takes food from supermarkets and farms and repacks it to deliver to local charities in need. Last month I visited the business and met with the excellent trainees. Through its trainee program A Gesture takes on 10 to 15 people every three to six months. These people are largely long-term unemployed. It frequently costs the charity more to train these people than it receives back from the federal government, which gives it a flat rate of $600 per head.
I met some incredible people and heard some pretty powerful stories about how this program had changed their lives for the better.
However, the state of the two trucks used by the charity is a real obstacle to the continuation of this program. One of the vans had broken down and the second one’s air conditioning was broken, which is an occupational health and safety issue for the transportation of food. A Gesture requires one large air-conditioned vehicle, which would cost between $100 000 and $125 000. The program currently receives no support from the state government. Truck drivers Norm and Greg, who wrote to me inviting me out there, informed me that there are opportunities for the business to continue if it gets some sort of support. I congratulate operations manager Russell Rogers on the great work he does and the bright future he shows to so many of the long-term unemployed.