More than 100,000 Australian native plants will be planted in and around Mernda, with the signing of a major replanting contract with Yarra View Nursery.
The nursery, based in Mt Evelyn, is a social enterprise which employs people with disabilities to cultivate high-quality plants.
For the nursery, which is run by disability services provider Knoxbrooke Incorporated, a strong partnership with the Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA) has helped it to employ more nursery workers, many of whom live with disabilities.
Having already produced 85,000 plants for the Bayswater and Heatherdale level crossing projects, the nursery’s Mernda Rail contract has assisted in directly creating 13 new jobs – including 10 for people with disabilities – and helps to ensure longer-term job certainty for the existing 110 employees.
The Mernda Rail project is building eight kilometres of new rail line between South Morang and Mernda and three state-of-the-art stations in Melbourne’s north. The new greenery will start to be planted around the under-construction rail line and in other locations in and around Mernda over the coming months.
The $550,000 Mernda planting contract also coincides with the launch of the Victorian Social Procurement Framework, whereby businesses who use social and disability enterprises or Aboriginal businesses in their tenders for government contracts will have a competitive edge over those who don’t.
Holding memberships with social procurement facilitators Supply Nation and Social Traders, LXRA has partnered with more than 25 social benefit suppliers to date and was the first Victorian Government organisation to adopt a Social Procurement Policy.