A Kinder Cup Morwell forced to close – Adjournment Debate

Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (18:10): (2074) My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers in his capacity as the minister in charge of neighbourhood houses, and the action I seek is for the minister to work with A Kinder Cup cafe in Morwell and provide bridging funding for the next few months until the GovHub in Morwell’s workers return to onsite work. Last October as an initiative of the amazing Morwell Neighbourhood House the A Kinder Cup cafe and catering operation was opened in the GovHub. It is in Church Street, Morwell.

Ms Shing interjected.

Ms BATH: Minister Shing today actually called for quiet while people are speaking, so I suggest she take her own advice.

Hailed as a project that will revitalise Morwell—and I quote the minister, who was a member for Eastern Victoria Region at the time, on 24 May 2018:

We are really looking forward to revitalising Morwell through these … initiatives and continuing our work to make sure that facilities are centralised …

As well as supplying healthy meals and coffee to the 300-odd onsite GovHub workers, A Kinder Cup was also established as a training initiative for locals to learn hospitality in a supported environment. At the time manager Tracie Lund told the Latrobe Valley Express on 11 October:

We are here to support people in their work life journey and getting them where they need to go.

The cafe’s mission was around fostering companionship, contribution and connection to provide meaningful work experience opportunities. Now we see this is not a revitalised project.

There is less than 10 per cent of the 270 staff coming into the GovHub, and Tracie has told me today through a discussion that they will be forced to close on 25 August.

The workforce landscape in the Morwell CBD is predominantly government and government agencies. Local shops and cafes are on their knees due to work-from-home options.

During the pandemic, as Tracie has said today, neighbourhood houses were open all the time. They were on the front service. Other essential workers were turning up to work. Small business owners and cafes are today trying to make a buck and continue to survive in a very quiet environment in the CBD. On top of that, it seems that this problem is Victoria’s. Tracie has again told me today that the GovHub’s developer, Castlerock Property, has a similar premise in New South Wales. They have 90 per cent occupancy, and people are turning up.