Senate debates

Monday, 11 September 2023

Statements by Senators

Geeveston Community Centre

1:35 pm

Photo of Claire ChandlerClaire Chandler (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to express my sincere gratitude to the people who work and volunteer in our community centres. I would specifically like to talk about my most recent visit to Geeveston, just south of Hobart. I stopped off at the Geeveston Community Centre, which engages with businesses, the community and individuals around the Huon Valley. It was an absolute pleasure to meet with Nicole, the centre manager, and Trish, the program manager, while I was there. Nicole and Trish walked me through the services the centre offers to the local community, of which are many.

Like so many community centres, they collaborate with Loaves and Fishes Tasmania to provide emergency food relief to local families. While I was listening to the managers around a cup of tea, I witnessed how fast the provisions that were dropped off that day were quickly waiting out. People were waiting for the truck to arrive and rushed to the shelves once the product was laid out. The centre reaches out to around 300 to 400 people a month and has seen a 180 per cent increase in emergency food relief demand in just 12 months—even further evidence of the cost-of-living crisis that is currently gripping our country.

The community centre also offers the Jumpstart Learner Driver Mentor Program, a free service who for learners who need to get their hours and experience in driving before they get their Ps. Without this important local service, these learners would have to go to Hobart, which is about an hour north of Geeveston, and they would have to pay for the driving lessons themselves.

With the donations, the funding and the support that it receives, the Geeveston Community Centre offers further services: a community shed that is very popular with both men and women within the town, a full professional kitchen facility, support for those dealing with homeless, a collaboration with 26TEN to develop and improve the literacy and numeracy skills of adults in the region, and so much more. It is a real pleasure today to update the Senate on that visit and to thank the Geeveston Community Centre for showing me around. I look forward to another visit very soon.