House debates

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Statements by Members

COVID-19: Tassie Face Mask Project

1:39 pm

Photo of Bridget ArcherBridget Archer (Bass, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to congratulate a group of northern Tasmanians who stepped up a year ago when the prospect of needing face masks quickly became a reality. The Tassie Face Mask Project—now operating under a not-for-profit organisation, Flourishing Communities Inc.—was started by a small team of volunteers at the start of the pandemic, with volunteers sewing and donating cloth face masks as part of an effort to address the shortage of medical-grade face masks across the state and ensure that medical-grade masks were kept for frontline staff and that lives were protected. As project co-founder and northern Tasmanian nurse Bronwin Ballantyne said when the project launched:

They usually say a stitch in time saves nine, but stitching a mask at this time can save lives.

The project has been incredibly successful, with well over 20,000 cloth masks distributed since the initiative began in March last year and with volunteers from all walks of life and organisations such as CommUnityCare and St.LukesHealthcontributing to the project. I contacted Bronwin recently to purchase cloth masks to give to colleagues as part of the Parliamentary Friends of Waste and Recycling inaugural event, which I'll be launching with the co-chair, the member for Corangamite, in the next few weeks. Like me, Bronwin is concerned about the environmental impact that single-use masks continue to have on our environment. I look forward to working with Bronwin and colleagues in this place to discuss how we may better address the environmental challenge of single-use masks going forward.