25 October 2022

Due South Australia—who are they? One might think they're a South Australian organisation, but they're based in Tasmania. They are a self-funded organisation with their sights set on delivering world-class wellness initiatives for first responders and veterans. This charity operates three purposely designed homes, an off-grid adventure property, a farm and a community hub, all of which are based in my home town of Ulverstone on the north-west coast of Tasmania. They are designed to be a home away from home for military veterans and first responders who attend the courses that they offer.

The initiatives run by Due South Australia are specifically designed to help in the transition, personal development and, importantly, the mental health of the selfless individuals who continue to serve a purpose greater than their own. Due South Australia is a 100 per cent self-funded organisation providing wellness initiatives during the months of May to November each year. This is called a midyear reset. These wellness initiatives are planned and delivered by a selfless and driven group of volunteers. Due South Australia is proud to be completely operated by volunteers, and they guarantee that their business model will never include wages.

I met with the directors of Due South Australia, Peter and Barry, a couple of weeks ago in Ulverstone. Peter had served in the military for 24 years, seeing active service in East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq, and humanitarian service in Banda Aceh, in the wake of the Boxing Day tsunami, Ukraine after the tragic downing of MH17, and numerous other deployments around the globe. He also set up successful businesses on the north-west coast of Tasmania, with his wife, while serving. He and Barry, a community minded and successful businessman, have teamed up to create this awesome vision called Due South Australia. They run a private enterprise in Ulverstone, the Seasonal South motel. They call the motel the 'engine room for Due South', where the output of their team's effort is the driving force to self-fund.

These gentlemen take no wage but create local jobs and give back to our first responders and veterans with their great team of volunteers. Not only do their team of all volunteers run wellness courses between May and November each year but also they run a community hub every day of the year, at the motel, for first responders, veterans and the community. The Seasonal South motel is a welcoming place, where the Ulverstone community come to connect, share and learn. The hub bridges the gap between first responders, veterans and the wider community to connect with each other and with organisations that can provide health, education and support programs.

The three homes accommodate the attendees of the wellness and reconnection programs that run between May and November each year. During the other six months, they house the Pacific islander workforce participating in the Seasonal Worker Program to support our agriculture industry. This is setting not only a new standard in charity work but a new and very high standard of housing for our Pacific workforce while they live and work here in Australia for extended periods. When any donations are received, a minimum of 90 per cent goes directly to veteran and first responder support programs and a maximum of 10 per cent goes to admin costs—no wages, all volunteers. This is setting a new standard in veteran charity work and reduces the stress on limited government funding or the ongoing running costs from a handout to a hand-up.

These courses benefit not only the participants but regional Australia, with these fine Australians visiting the towns and local businesses which help in the transition of veterans and first responders attending emergencies every day back into their community and back into the civilian workforce. In turn, it helps families grow their relationships back to a strong bond after years of long deployments. Attending emergencies and training exercises makes a more healthy and sustainable society for those who serve our community here and around the globe.

Giving back: this is what Australia is, and should be, about. Labor is proud to support this great initiative, and I must say that, having met these two guys, they are very selfless and I am very proud to have them living in my home town of Ulverstone.