Last week I had the pleasure of presenting the Social Investment Award at the Social Traders Social Enterprise Awards for 2015. Often in this place and in the community we talk about big and small businesses, but one of the businesses we do not often talk about, and probably should focus on more, is social enterprise businesses. They use the power of the marketplace to help solve some of our most pressing societal problems. They are businesses that exist primarily to benefit the public and the community rather than shareholders and owners. They are often commercially viable businesses which generate a great social impact.
The wonderful thing about being able to present this award last week was that it was the first time since 18 such awards have been handed out that there were joint winners, and I am happy to announce that they both came from Victoria. One winner was STREAT, an investment by Social Ventures Australia which is supported by the National Australia Bank and other philanthropic organisations. It undertakes a range of activities to use that capital appropriately. The other winner was — and there was a little bit of a personal touch to this announcement given that my mother was a refugee to this country — the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Food Justice Truck, which does a great deal of humanitarian work across our society in relation to asylum seekers and their needs. It was a great pleasure and honour to deliver those awards.