Page 3172 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 22 August 2017

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Madam Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I am able to report that all members of my office have taken the pledge and will be doing their part to contribute to this campaign this year. I encourage all members to actively get behind this fantastic initiative and similarly take the pledge. The Canberra Liberals firmly believe in the notion of personal responsibility. It is campaigns like this that demonstrate just how powerful this value can be. It is not a huge commitment. It is as simple as taking a pledge. The pledge is to pick up one piece of litter a day. We can all work together towards keeping Canberra beautiful and, by doing just that, keeping Australia beautiful.

GG’s Flowers

Australian Beard Day

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (7.00): GG’s Flowers is a family-run florist delivering the most stunning bouquets and hugs around Canberra. Anyone walking past Ms Lee’s office or my office would have seen some of their beautiful arrangements of orchids and lilies. I am happy to say that I stole the idea off Ms Lee.

GG’s Flowers was inspired by the youngest of the family, Gayana, a student at Lyneham High School. A few years ago, her family realised that, despite Gayana’s eagerness and friendly personality, sadly, she had limited employment opportunities due to having Down syndrome. Not satisfied with being resigned to this unfortunate situation, the family created GG’s Flowers. The business started in their bathroom but now employs 10 people with special needs. These employees are involved in taking orders, arranging flowers and delivering them with a bright smile and a big hug for all clients.

This year, Nip from GG’s Flowers won at the ACT Australia Post Regional Pitchfest for the best business model. The business’s focus on social sustainability over profit helped Nip stand out against her four worthy opponents. She secured both the expert panel and community choice awards, winning $6,500 in prize money. While this amount will surely help GG’s Flowers continue to grow, Nip has found the mentorship and exposure that she received through the pitchfest to be even more beneficial. Nip competed against eight other regional winners at the national gala event held in Wagga last Friday. There was some stiff competition and, while GG’s did not walk away with the national win, the company’s success at the ACT event shone a light on the importance of socially sustainable businesses in our community. Social sustainability is a crucial limb of sustainable development. It involves making sure that a community is equitable, diverse, connected and democratic, and provides a good quality of life for all its members.

Canberra businesses like GG’s Flowers, Isaac Delivers and Krofne Donuts demonstrate the determination and entrepreneurial spirit of Canberrans who have special needs, and of their support networks, allowing them to better engage with the Canberra community and maintain strong friendships. Nip hopes to use her winnings from the pitchfest to continue to develop GG’s Flowers’ model, to lower the unemployment rate among Canberrans with special needs and change the way that Canberrans think about inclusion. I hope the Assembly will join me in congratulating Nip and GG’s Flowers on their achievements at the Regional Pitchfest.

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