Orange Sky is one step closer to launching a mobile laundry and shower van in the Townsville region, thanks to a contribution from the Palaszczuk Government’s Dignity First Fund.

Announcing the project at Parliament House today, Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said Orange Sky would receive $115,770 to part fund the construction and first year’s operation of the new service in Townsville.

“Orange Sky and their army of volunteers do amazing things around Queensland, as well as interstate, and we are very proud to be helping them expand their work.”

Orange Sky, founded by the 2016 Young Australians of the Year Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, provides free mobile laundry and shower services for people experiencing homelessness.

Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland and Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke welcomed Orange Sky’s plans for Townsville, and said the service would help the local community in ways much more profound than just clean clothes and a shower.

“The great thing about Orange Sky is that not only do they help provide dignity through practical assistance, they provide meaningful human connection for people doing it tough,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“One of the most difficult aspects to the experience of homelessness is the sense of loneliness and disconnection from the community.”

Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the service would also support people experiencing temporary homelessness because of natural disasters.

“Orange Sky sent vans north when Debbie hit earlier this year, and while Townsville wasn’t hit the way other regions were, we’re no strangers to wild weather,” Mr Scott said.

“Knowing we will soon have an Orange Sky presence year round is a great boost to the Townsville community.”

Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said having an Orange Sky service would provide volunteering opportunities for the Townsville community.

“Something I love about the Townsville community is just how ready people are ready to give back – you just have to ask, and the community rallies around,” Mr Harper said.

“I think there are a lot of people around here who want to help people who are doing it tough, but don’t always know how to get involved.

“But a service like Orange Sky – it’s all about just spending time with people and having a yarn.”

Mr Marchesi said the Dignity First funds put Orange Sky a step closer to launching a van in North Queensland.

“Our key aim is to positively connect the community – whether that be through a load of laundry or a conversation,” he said.

“People across the region will soon have access to basic laundry and shower facilities for free. More importantly though, they will have the opportunity to build relationships with volunteers and have some really great conversations.

“It gives people a genuine sense of connection back to their own communities.”

Mr de Brenni said that under the Queensland Housing Strategy, the Palaszczuk Government is investing $52 million in the Townsville region to build 137 homes for Queenslanders who need it.

“We’ve also allocated more than $3.6 million to specialist homelessness services in Townsville,” Mr de Brenni said.

“But alongside this, a lot of practical and social support can be given in the short term with some good ideas, a little money and a lot of heart.

“The Dignity First Fund has already brought some fantastic ideas to life.

“Young people transitioning out of homelessness are learning how to drive, a mobile barbershop is providing haircuts on the street, and café style dining is serving up food along with employment and training opportunities.

“Whatever situation you’re in, you have the right to live with dignity, and Dignity First projects like Orange Sky’s Townsville van help deliver that.”


Media contact: Tristan Douglas 0447 164 197