Reception in support of Orange Sky
Orange Sky Australia, Chair, the Honourable Andrew Fraser and Directors; Co-Founder and CEO, Mr Lucas Patchett OAM; Co-Founder and Chief Delta Officer, Mr Nicholas Marchesi OAM; staff, supporters and volunteers; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here this evening.
Graeme and I are delighted to welcome you all to Government House to say thank you to Orange Sky Australia and its incredible army of supporters—for helping those in our communities who are doing it tough.
The Orange Sky story is truly inspirational and demonstrates what can be achieved when a clever idea, determination, and the courage to “give it a crack” come together.
Back in 2014, when co-founders, Lucas Patchett and Nic Marchesi were just 20 years old, they set about turning a simple concept into a reality—to give back to the community by bringing free laundry facilities to homeless people at locations around Brisbane.
In a world first, “Sudsy” took to the streets, and quickly proved not only the immense need that existed for this type of service, but also revealed the importance of the waiting time, once the washing cycle had started.
This powerful fusion of essential practical support, with a welcoming opportunity for conversation on the orange chairs has seen a humble “Brisbane garage” organisation grow to become a beneficial force across Australia.
Orange Sky’s scope now extends to 36 locations, including 12 of our most country’s remote communities, including Palm Island, Lockhart River and Aurukun in Queensland.
To date, it has provided an astounding 1.9 million kilograms of free laundry, 20,000 showers and 330,000 hours of chatting time to those in need.
This vital work has not only improved hygiene standards, which is so necessary for basic health and wellbeing, but has restored dignity—an intangible quality that connects us all as humans.
Sadly, homelessness currently impacts the lives of over 122,000 Australians, and demand for Orange Sky services continues to grow.
Yet, I know, that this is an organisation that is continually innovating to improve its offerings and is willing to embrace new ideas and advanced technology to help achieve its goals.
I therefore commend Orange Sky—its co-founders, Lucas and Nic, and its dedicated Board, Leadership team and staff for believing in, and working towards, this outstanding success.
I also know that the organisation would not be able to achieve such impressive results, without the significant contribution of its many volunteers, and the generous support of its donors, corporate partners and sponsors—represented by those of you joining us this evening.
Whether you are in a van—giving up your time and opening your hearts to others, or providing the essential financial and logistical assistance required to ensure a smooth, effective operation—you are each helping to make this worthy organisation stronger, which is creating a more hopeful future for so many.
I thank you all for demonstrating such compassion and understanding, and commend you for your altruistic dedication.
Graeme and I hope you enjoy the hospitality of Government House.