Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Longman Electorate: Vision Builders
Even though I was raised and I've spent most of my life living and working in the community of Longman, I was unaware of how many fantastic community organisations and community minded business we had when I was first elected as the federal member in 2019. As a business owner, I know how easy it is to get caught up in your own work and focus solely on the day-to-day running of your own business. But even then, when I opened my chandler store in Caboolture in 1992 and was the owner of the Good Guys at Morayfield in the 2000s, I was always a big believer in small businesses getting involved in the community, donating goods to charity and sponsoring local sporting teams, and I still am.
Last year I was proud to launch Vision Builders, a forum where community groups and business owners in the electorate of Longman can come together to share advice, stories, news and sometimes even some laughs. For me, Vision Builders is about bringing people together from different walks of life and looking at ways in which we can collaborate and bring out the best of what Longman has to offer. The issue I saw when I was elected was that many of these businesses and community groups were totally unaware of each other. So I determined that I would create a platform that allowed them all to collaborate with one common goal: to make Longman the greatest place in Australia to live.
I'm pleased to say that this year has been another great one for Vision Builders, with incredible speakers and lots of new faces in the audience at each session. I have received a lot of positive feedback from those who have come to the meetings, whether it was to listen or to speak, and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Although the pandemic limited when and if we could even hold the Vision Builders meetings, I found that for many people this group was greatly needed at a time when businesses were struggling and business owners were frustrated by constant lockdowns, added compliance, the loss of customers and clientele, and general uncertainty.
It can be lonely to be a business owner at times, and it can take its toll on your mental health, especially during a life-changing period like the pandemic. But when you can bounce ideas off other people, listen to their stories and hear about their plans for the future, you feel better about yourself as a business owner and as a person, because you're surrounded by support and people you can lean on. I know I definitely could have used a group like Vision Builders back in my early days as a business owner.
At our last Vision Builders event for the year, we heard from Nick Steiner from the Mini Farm Project, author and speaker Stephen Dale, and Cameron Matheson from GeoEco Panels. Nick Steiner from the Mini Farm Project spoke about his organisation, which aims to convert underutilised spaces into urban farms. They donate half the food that is grown on these farms to local clarities and food rescue agencies such as Meals on Wheels and OzHarvest. There are also educational employment opportunities that come with the farms. Nick is examining any opportunity for space in the Caboolture area to establish a working farm alongside operations at Millen Farm in Samford and the Farm Market Garden in Loganlea.
It's not uncommon for people to hit rock bottom in their lives, but Stephen Dale did it quite literally, and he barely survived. When he was 21 he fell 30 feet off a cliff at Phillip Island, but he says it was this incident that helped him to find his purpose in life: to help others who have fallen off a cliff. Steven wrote a book about his experiences in 2010, titled Bouncing Back When You Hit Rock Bottom. He's now an inspirational speaker and workplace trainer.
Cameron Matheson from GeoEco Panels shared his plans to import a type of building product that is rustproof, termiteproof, verminproof and fireproof. They are lightweight and made from composite materials, and can be used in domestic or commercial projects. They are made from recycled timber amongst other items, and it is environmentally friendly. Cameron said there was nothing like it in Australia, and it is currently going through the Australian standards and approvals process.
It's been great to have so many wonderful people from across the Longman electorate come along to Vision Builders and use it as a platform to get their story out there and to network, collaborate and connect with other businessowners in the Longman community. Each and every one of their stories has been inspiring. I'm looking forward to seeing what the new year will hold for Vision Builders. I know it will only get bigger and better in 2020.
Question agreed to.
House adjourned at 22:02