The team, smiling at the camera, packing lunches at a table showing many brown lunch bags

A role that the people in our Defence business are passionate about is supporting our client in the work they do out in communities across Australia. 

The past few years have shown the key role Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel play when those communities are in need, as some regions in Victoria in this week or two as they face extreme weather and flooding of towns and homes. 

As we head into a third La Niña event, with an expectation of another summer of higher-than-average rainfall particularly on the east coast of Australia, the ADF is ready to support the towns and communities in need. 

Operation Flood Assist

Up to 600 ADF personnel are deployed on Operation Flood Assist 22-2 as part of the Australian Government's response to flooding in Victoria and NSW, providing additional support to State Emergency Services. 

Ventia is a top Prime contractor to Defence, and our hospitality and catering team in Victoria, led by Regional Hospitality Manager Jenny Gigliotti, have stepped up to provide additional support to those Defence personnel who have headed out to four regions across the state. 

a table with hundreds of lunch bags

The lunch bags are ready to be distributed.


Partnering with local vendors and associations

Project Director South East John Parisella says that transitioning his team's usual role of feeding those personnel on bases to delivering that service in regional communities required some innovative thinking. 

In order to accommodate these requirements, Jenny and the team have reached out to local vendors and associations, including the Returned & Services League (RSL) branches in each of the regions to assist. 

"We've been really pleased with the willingness of these organisations to partner with us to deliver meals to personnel out in the field," John says. "I think everyone knows the reputation that these organisations have for providing nutritious, hearty meals to their members, but they also have a commitment to service at their core."

Supporting the communities in which we live and work is central to the way we make infrastructure work for those communities, and our ability to pivot and roll out a program like this on very short notice is testament to the way we build relationships everywhere we operate. 

The team at Swan Hill Fire Brigade busy packing meals at a table

The team at Swan Hill Fire Brigade busy packing meals to support the personnel in the field.


Putting money back into the community

John notes that an additional benefit of this activity is ensuring that local businesses are utilised to provide the foodstuffs needed to create the meals. 

When events like this happen in small towns, they can have a big impact on the economy, so anything we can do to help put money back into those regions is an added advantage.

John says the team are working with the Swan Hill RSL and the Fire Brigade Auxiliary to deliver meals in Swan Hill, and with local vendors in Echuca and Bendigo in Victoria over an initial period of ten days. 

They are also delivering meals prepared by our chefs at Puckapunyal to ADF personnel in Shepparton, around an hour north of the base. Deliveries will be made twice a day over the period, with the local RSL storing the breakfast, lunch and dinner packs for collection by ADF. 

The timeframe for support may change depending on the final impacts of the extreme weather in the state.