AEC staff have spent the last few months sorting through the stationery from the election. (Supplied: AEC)
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is donating more than 7,000 first-aid kits and stationery bought for the 2019 federal election to a range of Indigenous health and education organisations.
- Stationery has been stockpiled in Sydney since the election
- It is cheaper for the AEC to give the goods away and buy more next time than it is to store it until the next election
- Materials are being shipped to organisations around Australia
Director of Supply Chain at the AEC Jay Rasmussen said, to his knowledge, it was the first time the organisation had passed the material on to Aboriginal organisations to be re-used.
“I had a small background in community engagement with Indigenous organisations, so I just thought it was a good opportunity to repurpose the material that had already been paid for, for a very needy community,” he said.
In the months since the election, the goods have been stockpiled and taken to a warehouse in Sydney, where they were sorted and inspected by AEC staff to make sure they were in good enough condition to be passed on.
As well as first-aid kits, Mr Rasmussen said there were “large volumes” of everything from pens and pencils, to sticky tape, Blu-Tac and bulldog clips.
“Until you see the remnants of a federal election you don’t realise the mass amount of things used,” he said.
“Everyone sees their own polling place, but once you start to look at it pan Australia it is a massive amount of election material, it is a significant amount of material.
“We’re working with a number of organisations now just to tailor it to what they can expect to use and what they want, rather than just push excess stuff out there.”
The AEC has moved all of its leftover stationery from polling booths to a warehouse in Sydney. (Supplied: Australian Electoral Commission)
But why not just save all that stationery for the next time Australia goes to the polls in three years’ time?
According to Mr Rasmussen and electoral commissioner Tom Rogers, the cost-benefit analysis done showed it would be more expensive to store all the material.
“This material is still mostly brand new, and it will either not last until the next full federal election or is cheaper to purchase again than store,” Mr Rogers said.
“We’re in the very fortunate position of being able to provide [the kits and stationery] to people who can put it to great use to promote the health and wellbeing of people who often lack these resources.
“It is terrific to have this opportunity to help in a small way.”
Mr Rasmussen said the AEC was working with around six organisations across the country.