House debates

Thursday, 20 September 2018


Bonner Electorate: Wynnum and Manly District Meals on Wheels

11:36 am

Photo of Ross VastaRoss Vasta (Bonner, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Last month I spoke about one of the extraordinary volunteers of my electorate, Irene Edwards. Earlier this year, Irene received a Medal of the Order of Australia for her volunteer work at Wynnum-Manly Meals on Wheels and other local organisations.

Today I want to talk about her husband, Ken Edwards, also OAM. Ken is the president of the Wynnum-Manly Meals on Wheels. Thanks to Ken's efforts, the efforts of other Meals on Wheels volunteers and the support of the community, construction on the brand new Wynnum-Manly Meals on Wheels kitchen and community centre at Wakerley has begun. It's been a decades-long journey for Ken and the others. It's a great story I wanted to share—one that others can take inspiration from.

I'm proud to support an outstanding organisation like Meals on Wheels. I think we all know someone who Meals on Wheels has helped, whether that person is an aged, frail or disabled relative or a friend. I very much support efforts to improve the quality of life of the most vulnerable members of our society. The coalition government's announcement this week of the aged-care royal commission was very welcome. But, getting back to Meals on Wheels, the volunteers at Wynnum-Manly have made a huge difference at the local level.

I turned the first sod at the new Wakerley site last Friday. Let me tell you, seeing the happiness on Ken's face, and how excited everyone was, really made me proud to have secured them $300,000 in federal funding at the last election to fit-out and equip their new facility, as well as a $20,000 Stronger Communities grant that they used to purchase new kitchen equipment. I also have to commend Brisbane City Council and my fellow Liberal, Councillor Ryan Murphy, for making the site available for lease to Meals on Wheels. These are significant investments from the government, but when we compare them to everything the local community has put forward in getting the new Meals on Wheels facility up and running we must admit that they have done an outstanding job. Since 1995 they have fundraised tirelessly to make their new and improved home a reality. Together, they have raised $2.8 million. What an achievement! In Ken's words: 'It's been a very hard slog for this length of time. The hard work and perseverance from everyone involved has been such an inspiration. And I'm glad to see the benefits will flow on to the whole community.'

The centre's state-of-the art commercial kitchen will allow Meals on Wheels volunteers to cook, prepare and deliver more hot meals to more homes in the community. That means more people will receive help to stay independent and remain in their homes for longer. The fully equipped kitchen will also ensure that Meals on Wheels can prepare meals to their usual high standards. But that's not all. The centre will have many other features that local groups will be able to use for seminars, public meetings, training workshops and other community events and activities. There'll be a community meeting room available for hire that can hold up to 150 people. Training spaces will be available, as well as a boardroom with a complete audiovisual fit-out, volunteer facilities, a verandah cafe and a separate community kitchen. Sporting spaces will also be available to sports groups in the area, and Brisbane City Council is planning to build netball courts behind the new facility. These will be complemented by a canteen, dressing-room and toilets underneath the new facility.

I am so proud to be part of this government, which recognises the importance of investing in vital community infrastructure projects like this. The new Meals on Wheels centre will help those in the community who need it most. It has brought the community together, and when it's completed it will serve to strengthen community ties. It will also provide a boost to the local economy by creating dozens of construction jobs. I can't wait to see the completed kitchen and community centre and join everyone on opening day.

I have to thank Ken and the rest of the Meals on Wheels volunteers, and everyone who donated to this worthy project, for their unwavering dedication. Thanks to their efforts, the Bayside community will benefit from this fantastic facility for years to come.

Photo of Andrew GeeAndrew Gee (Calare, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Bonner for his words and also for drawing the attention of the House to the important work of Meals on Wheels.