18 October 2023

I rise to recognise an amazing group of volunteers in my electorate of Corangamite in Victoria. Tucked behind the Drysdale Community Church, a dozen volunteers of all ages tend the Springdale Community Garden, which recently received a grant of $3,000 to install a new solar panel, rechargeable battery and raised garden beds.

Funded through the Stronger Communities Program, the solar panel has been connected to a battery system, which is now recharging tools, lighting work sheds and linked to a water pump so that volunteers can water the garden at any time of day or night. I recently met with volunteers who told me they previously relied on a gravity tank to water the garden without the battery and were unable to water the garden unless the weather was perfect.

These much needed upgrades will ensure the garden remains a safe, inclusive and sustainable place for people of all ages to enjoy the wonders of gardening. Just as importantly, the federal funding helps volunteers continue their amazing work, producing fresh and much needed produce for the nearby Drysdale Family Support Foodbank. The way these organisations work together is truly beautiful. In closing, I'd like to encourage newcomers to our region and those looking for a new hobby to head over to the garden and get involved.