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Tasmanian business caring for Australia’s fallen

Gary’s Home and Garden Care is a family-run business operating out of Launceston, Tasmania. Established over 20 years ago, the company offers a full range of home and garden maintenance services.  

In 2016, Gary’s Home and Garden Care was engaged by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to help maintain the Garden of Remembrance in Launceston.

The Office of Australian War Graves’ (OAWG), part of DVA, is responsible for maintaining all Australian war graves, memorials and official commemorations in Australia and overseas. Tasmania has Gardens of Remembrance in Hobart and Launceston, which together, are home to approximately 13,000 war graves and plaques of remembrance.

Tasmanian Regional Manager for the OAWG, Rob Evans, says Gary’s Home and Garden Care was the first business procured by DVA for maintenance work in Launceston.

‘Before our engagement with Gary’s Home and Garden Care, maintenance of Launceston’s Garden of Remembrance was done internally by a permanent DVA gardener,’ he says.

‘However, when she retired a few years ago, we decided to look for another way to care for the gardens and maintain the legacy of those who served Australia.’  

Selling to government, a simple process

Gary’s Home and Garden Care won a contract with DVA in 2016. The company is contracted to work two days per week, with this changing to one day over winter. Maintenance responsibilities include full horticultural care, including weeding, mowing, watering and planting.

Founder and CEO of the company, Gary Pearce, says his engagement with DVA over the past two years has been simple and straightforward.

‘This is my first contract with a government department, and I am very pleased with how it has run,’ he says.

‘Tendering for the work was straightforward, there was minimal paperwork to complete and all instructions were clear. I’ve now been engaged with DVA for almost three years and haven’t had any issues. They are helpful with any queries or concerns, check in regularly and have been transparent throughout the whole process.’ 

Procurement helps small businesses flourish

As the contract manager, Rob speaks highly of his experience with Gary’s Home and Garden Care, saying the engagement has been beneficial to DVA in many ways.

“Gary has provided great value for money for the department. Gary has a great work ethic and always delivers a high-quality job. It’s nice to know we can help small businesses like his flourish,’ he says.

In addition, Rob says engaging with a small business has often proved a much simpler process.

‘Gary does most of the work himself, which has made managing the contract much easier because I am only dealing with one person. I also like how personal the engagement is and the opportunity I’ve had to develop a closer working relationship Gary.’

Meanwhile, Gary says the engagement with DVA provides him with job security, a necessity for small business success.

‘Horticulture can be a tough industry, because you will often have 10-20 small jobs per day, depending on the time of year. This often makes it hard to budget for the future and feel secure as a business. Having guaranteed work at one location for a few days per week takes a lot of pressure off, because it means I have reliable work and a steady income,’ he says.

Gary also says this work has a very human side.

‘I often get feedback from people saying how nice the gardens look. I am grateful to have the opportunity to care for Australia’s heroes and make it a nicer experience for visitors.’

 

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