Posted Wednesday March 20, 2013
As I move around the region in my role as Mayor, I’m often amazed at the amount of remarkable initiatives and projects underway to make the place we all call home an even better community in which to live.
Over the past few years we’ve seen a number of social enterprises develop in Toowoomba. Several of these have been focused on providing meaningful employment to those who face a range of extra challenges in life. I commend those who are undertaking this important work.
Another area, closely linked to social enterprise is that of social procurement. Social procurement focuses on how organisations spend their money, who they purchase from, and what they purchase, and the social impacts that flow on from these decisions.
I’m especially proud that Toowoomba Regional Council was recently able to begin making a contribution in this space. In October last year we awarded a contract through a public tender process to a local firm – Ability Enterprises, who, in collaboration with Personnel West and the Toowoomba Clubhouse work to create employment for those who are marginalised in our community.
The Council contract relates to the operation of the gate-houses at 13 of our waste management facilities across the region.
Many of those who work on the gate-houses have a disability and it’s fantastic to see how well they’ve settled into their new role. The employees welcome people; direct customers to the correct areas for dumping; help people with the separation of waste and collect the information we need about the amount and type of waste entering the centres.
All in all it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved and I encourage any business owner who is seeking new labour to consider looking at the social procurement model.