b'HUNTER 2021/22 ANNUAL REPORTSMITHFIELD RickyThe COVID-19 pandemic arrived at Soft Landing,For 20 years, even if Ricky found work, he could Sydney in two main hits. Our Smithfield site innever be comfortable. His mental health issues made Gundungurra Country was at the epicentre ofit difficult for him to fit into most workplaces. It was the outbreak and it looked as if the whole areaIts not just would go into a hard lockdown, with emergencyhard to make friends, he took a lot of days off, and hea team, its services being the only people who werecouldnt find anything that he enjoyed doing.a band of allowed to move around. I just felt paranoid, he says quietly. At a lot of places,I felt no one liked me and people seemed to spend all theirbrothers.Soft Landing had to pivot fast. On the night of Fridaytime gossiping about each other. July 16, after NSW Health held a press conference,RICKYour management staff starting planning how we couldTo cope Ricky kept to himself. It wasnt much fun. TodaySOFTLANDING run a service on Monday. Wed always had a Businessyou wouldnt recognise the man that Ricky has become.HUNTERContinuity Plan (BCP), but it had never needed to beAll it took was a job where he was treated fairly and given tested. We documented who could move, who couldwork that made him confident and satisfied.drive a truck, and where they would be allowed to go. When I first came to Soft Landing everyone said, we are The BCP was built around transport partners thatvery big on team work here. It took me three months, but we could (at a cost) substitute for our own collectionthen I started to feel like I fitted in.Its not just a team, itsinfrastructure and waste partners that we could (at aa band of brothers. You can come in and enjoy it. Therescost) substitute for our own processing, recycling, anda lot of playful banter, but Im also learning new skills.disposal pathways. Because he liked the work, Ricky stopped taking sickies. Plans were in place and we were ready. However, byStripping mattresses, sometimes carrying up to 40 kilos, Sunday afternoon we learned that waste was to behe became both physically and mentally stronger. Most classed as an essential industry, and we were ablesignificantly, Ricky is managing his mental health much to confirm to our staff the welcome news that tradingbetter. could go ahead, and they could still work on theExcept for COVID when we had a week off, I havent Monday. missed a day, he says proudly.But then the disease came to us, in a second andBecause I live with schizophrenia, I hear a lot of voices heavier hit with our first case detected on 6 September. in my head. But I love the work, so all the activities Im The site was shut down, we fired up our textinvolved in distract me. Id love to climb the ladder at Soft communications system to our staff, and deployed theLanding, he admits. I like to think Ill put my hand up one Business Continuity Plan.day. In all, nine members of our crew and at least six of theirRicky is proof that you cant underestimate the security family members were infected. Some people were verythat comes with a regular paycheque and somewhere unwell, and we had three hospitalisations. Most of oursafe to go every day. Hes just moved into his own flat, staff were unvaccinated or had just received their firstand everything is clicking. shot in the weeks before. We did what we could toIm happy. Im content. And Ive got my mates, he says support vaccination and achieved a 100% first-jab ratewith a grin. just two weeks later. In the meantime, our BCP kicked in and even thoughSabelo Nalathe Smithfield site was closed for 11 days, Soft Landing delivered an uninterrupted service to our customers.Sabelo Nala arrived in Australia from South Africa As people came out of isolation, the enterprise slowlyIt meansin 2013. He had been out of the workforce for returned to life.Being able to embracea lot to bealmost 2 years when an opportunity arose at Soft-The entire experience was stressful and scary butemergencies as a teama part ofLanding in Newcastle on Awabakal Country where looking back it has undoubtedly strengthened ourand feel confident aboutsomethinghe had settled with his two children. operation. We have developed better communication and support networks, better access to staffour capacity to deal withbigger thanI am physically small he says, and this job requires a strong body. Recycling the mattresses is heavy work. In information, and we have road-tested the BCP.Wefuture challenges hasmyselfthe beginning, it was painful, particularly for my hands, have had to use it again more recently when the Smithfield site went under water after the heavy rains.definitely been a plus.but I received massive support from my teammates, and I SABELO NALA was able to adapt. Being able to embrace these emergencies as a teamJOE RASMUSSEN|NSW STATE MANAGER SOFT LANDINGAs well as stripping mattresses, Sabelo has learned how to and feel confident about our capacity to deal withHUNTERfuture challenges has definitely been a plus. operate machinery, and develop an efficient work routine. Are we stronger for COVID? In terms of community andI now know I can perform to my fullest potential and togetherness, absolutely.contribute to a team that delivers the best service possible, he says. It means a lot to be a part of something bigger than myself. PAGE 41'