June 30 2010


The Hon. T.A. JENNINGS (11:06): I move:

1.That this council notes—

(a)the fine work of OzHarvest, a non-denominational charity that rescues excess food which would otherwise be discarded and distributes this excess food to charities supporting the vulnerable;

(b)that OzHarvest was founded in Sydney in 2004 and has now expanded to Canberra, Newcastle and, as of today, Adelaide, where this exciting philanthropic initiative boasts Maggie Beer as its ambassador and a partnership with UnitingCare Wesley, Port Adelaide;

(c)that since its inception, OzHarvest has rescued more than 5.4 million meals and saved hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste from going to landfill; and

2.That this council calls on the Minister for Families and Communities to take a leadership role in supporting this exciting new venture by advocating across state government agencies that undertake catering activities and/or contracts to commit to participating in OzHarvest as a donor agency.

I am happy to stand to speak to this motion (a little earlier in the day than I thought I was going to) in support of the fine work of the OzHarvest organisation. I am sure all members in the chamber would be delighted to hear that OzHarvest is coming to Adelaide, and I had the privilege of attending its launch last week. I note that the member for Bragg was there, as were other members of her party and the Greens.

For those who do not know, OzHarvest is an organisation that was founded in Sydney in 2004. It has now expanded to Canberra, Newcastle and, as of last week, Adelaide; however, its ambassador is indeed a South Australian. Many of you will be familiar with the wonderful Maggie Beer and what a fine ambassador she is not only for South Australians but also for seniors. In her role as Senior Australian of the Year, she had the opportunity to meet the founder of OzHarvest, Ronni Kahn, who is, of course, the Australian Local Hero of the Year.

She has every right to have been bestowed with that honour, having started such a fine organisation as OzHarvest, which is non-denominational and a charity. It rescues excess food that would otherwise be discarded and distributes it to those charities who support the vulnerable, so basically people in need. Ronni describes her organisation as 'merely a logistics organisation'. It is very much about having a refrigerated truck, having staff who know what they are doing in terms of handling food and getting those meals, which would otherwise be put in the bin or sent to landfill—and create more methane and more waste—into the bellies of those who would perhaps not otherwise have a meal, or certainly not have such a nourishing meal that day or that evening.

I note that since its inception OzHarvest has distributed 5.4 million meals that would otherwise have gone into landfill or been unused. This is an enormous achievement for which OzHarvest is to be congratulated. They have saved hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste from going to landfill.

There are of course environmental reasons for supporting this organisation, but what inspires me the most are the social justice and equity reasons. It not only does fine work in addressing the issues of waste in this country, but it also fulfils the threat that everyone's mother or grandmother or perhaps father made to them: 'If you don't eat that meal I'll send it to the child on the other side of the world'—or the other child who would much prefer to have it. Probably like me, many members here said to their parents, 'Well, why don't you put it in an envelope and send it then?' OzHarvest does indeed put it in that refrigerated truck of an envelope and send it to those children and adults in need, and it is to be congratulated for doing so.

I would like to speak particularly about a woman called Stacey Wright. Stacey has an interesting life, I am sure, as the mother of seven children, not all of whom are biologically hers. She lives down in the western suburbs and I have had the privilege of meeting Stacey twice now. I first met her at the pre-launch which I attended during the election campaign—and I note that the minister for families and communities at the time, the Hon. Jay Weatherill, also attended that meeting.

Stacey is an inspirational, youngish woman who has been doing great work in the western suburbs with raising awareness about healthy eating. In her research, she came across OzHarvest on the web, saw that it existed interstate and thought she would give these people a call and see if maybe it could be set up in Adelaide. To Stacey's credit, from that phone call and the work she has done—simply running a Google search and finding a great idea somewhere else—she has, through her networks with the UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide organisation that she had already established, achieved a magnificent thing in bringing OzHarvest to this state. I would like to particularly congratulate Stacey Wright for that fine work.

I would also like to congratulate the UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide organisation for taking up Stacey's idea, running with it and bringing it to fruition. I think that the state government could do far worse than have a look at this organisation and commit to participating in OzHarvest as a donor organisation. I have no doubt that, while we have a commitment to Zero Waste—and I note also that the Zero Waste organisation was at the launch—many of our state-funded catering arms, whether they be bodies that are funded to have a cafeteria or run catering in various forms in places like the Convention Centre and the Festival Theatre and so on, could be involved in terms of supporting the fine work of OzHarvest.

I have therefore moved this motion to call on the Minister for Families and Communities to take a leadership role and support the exciting venture of OzHarvest in coming to Adelaide and South Australia—it will, of course, focus its work in the first instance in the western suburbs—and to commit state government agencies to participate in OzHarvest as a donor organisation. I commend this motion to members of the council, and I look forward to fruitful discussion on this issue with members of the government at some time in the near future.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. I.K. Hunter.


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