CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (13:32): Today I would like to raise a toast to TOAST—Tolmie Offers a Seat to Town. Tolmie is a small town 30 kilometres north of Mansfield in North-East Victoria. There is no public transport and the community's only option is to travel by car. TOAST is an innovative community transport scheme that links local residents of Tolmie who have a spare seat in their car with residents who require a lift. Last month, TOAST celebrated taking its 200th passenger over three years.
I have been told a story of one resident who, prior to TOAST, regularly slept in a local park to ensure that he could attend an early morning medical appointment. Now linked up with TOAST, he travels on the morning of his appointment, is more connected with his community, has met many new people and regularly attends other community events.
TOAST is the outcome of a robust community development program coordinated by Mansfield Shire Council. I welcome to parliament today two volunteers from Mansfield who are working in my office. I encourage the replication of this initiative into other communities and congratulate Mansfield Shire Council, Rod Squires from Transport Connections, TOAST coordinator Norma Pearce—well done, Norma—and all of the TOAST drivers on the work they have done to address local transport issues and to improve community resilience and social connectedness. I encourage the government to support local community solutions to transport issues.