By Casey Neill
Dandenong’s Gateway Industries is no more, 30 years after opening its doors to support adults with disabilities.
The disability enterprise merged with Waverley Industries following financial struggles.
The Journal reported last September that its second-biggest customer, the City of Casey, had ended its eight-year relationship and created a $180,000 shortfall.
Waverley has found jobs for all 54 Gateway employees with disabilities.
Support staff, including CEO Alan Warwick, finished up on Monday 14 May.
“It is sad but what we set out to achieve is getting all the employees a job and that’s what we got through Waverley,” Mr Warwick said.
“They’re all taken care of.
“We looked at a few different companies.
“Waverley matched up the best.
“It’s like anything, there’s been good and bad out of it.
“There’s only two of the staff that have gone on over with them.
“The rest of us have all retired or gone on to something else.”
In a statement, Waverley Industries CEO Frank Cresia said the merger would create opportunities for business growth, innovation and diversification across Greater Dandenong, Casey, Cardinia and Monash.
He said both organisations shared the same vision to provide a long-term commitment to employment and training opportunities.
Mr Cresia said lots of work had gone into ensuring a smooth transition and integration of both organisations, ensuring all Gateway Industries people needs were completely fulfilled.
Gateway started more than 30 years ago as a Rotary Club of Dandenong initiative.
It employed more than workers with disabilities, most hailing from Hallam, Doveton, Dandenong and Keysborough but some traveling from Frankston, Cranbourne and Cockatoo.
Their roles included gardening, maintenance, woodwork, and processing and packaging.
Gateway Industries provided street furniture cleaning and litter pick-up services to Greater Dandenong Council for more than 25 years.
Workers told the Journal that Gateway had provided them with purpose.
The Journal will report more details on the merger in the coming weeks.