*This speech was delivered in the Senate on 21st November 2022.
Doing this job, you come across some wonderful people doing really great things. It makes your heart warm and fuzzy. I had one of those moments last week, when I went to visit the Self Help Workplace in Youngtown. It is staffed by people with special needs. They started 60 years ago and have grown into a very successful business.
They operate in five industries: timber production; hospitality; retail, and they run a mean op-shop; grounds maintenance; and commercial solutions, helping with mass mail-outs.
You can tell when you visit that this isn't just a workplace; they're a work family. Just take a look at Monica. She's been there for almost 45 years! That's a record in any workplace, I reckon. Whilst Monica made some little jabs about working there, it was clear that she wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
Watching the employees work, it was pretty obvious that they loved what they do and felt empowered doing it.
There are over 50 employees at Self-Help Workplace. Almost all of them are on NDIS plans. The business doesn't just give them a job, it gives them a clear purpose to get out of bed in the morning. It helps them to interact with others and learn new things.
The team also help their employees to learn life skills and be more self-sufficient at home. For example, doing laundry with donations from the op-shop can help them learn how to do their own laundry at home.
Politics is often about doom and gloom, but seeing businesses like the Self-Help Workplace reminds you of all the good that is happening in our state. I think if we all took a leaf out of their book, we'd be a lot better off.
Donna, I know you need a bit of help with the weeding in the veggie garden. I promise I'll be there in the new year, bring a few veggies and help weed it out!
Thank you for having me along. It made my week.