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Latest News




Keeping our Community Safe


Bevan Warner, CEO of Launch Housing in Melbourne, states that many Australians have a ‘meritocracy’ belief that if you work hard you will succeed.  If we follow that same line of thinking, if you don’t work hard, you will fail and what more visible sign of failure could there be than homelessness?  According to the Barwon South West Homelessness Network, the causes are complex but the most common reason people seek housing assistance is family and domestic violence.

Statistics tell us that victims of physical, sexual and emotional violence are predominately women – so are the majority of those seeking housing assistance.  A common question of the uninformed observer is “Why doesn’t she just leave?”  Local and Specialist Family Violence Prosecutor, Carolyn Howe, relates that of different types of abuse suffered, female victim report that psychological abuse is the most debilitating.  The perpetrator coercively controls the victim into believing she is not a good person, is mentally unstable, worthless, and not worth helping.

A South West Victorian woman and her children summoning extraordinary courage to flee an abusive household may be supported to stay in a hotel or caravan park for just 2-3 nights. There are 968 households waiting for social housing in the South West region, victims may have no alternative than to return to the perpetrator in the family home.  The informed question of “How does she keep going?” seems more appropriate.

In our COVID-19 environment, the statistics are hard to interpret whilst interactions with teachers, friends and workmates are suspended.  This means that opportunities to confidentially report have evaporated.  As schools and workplaces gradually repopulate and social activities resume, a further increase in personal assault reports and additional demand for housing support is expected.

What harder daily work could there be than to maintain your own and your children’s mental and physical health, whilst seeking refuge from family and domestic violence? A permanent and safe home would surely be the ultimate success.

Anyone seeking refuge from family violence can contact: Safe Steps, Emma House, Djirra (Indigenous support) or Brophy Youth and Family Services.

2020 Program Partcipants: Joy Coulon and Liam Arnott


Finland Tops World Education; How Does Australia Fare


When compared to Finland, by the age of 16 Australian school students have the equivalent of 5 years more compulsory schooling hours, and yet Finland continues to top the world in literacy, maths and science. How can this be so?

We were thrilled to hear from expert Professor Pasi Sahlberg from the Gonski Institute who was able to share his knowledge in this space especially given his previous experience as a teacher in Finland and policy advisor.

Pasi explained Finland’s world leading outcomes in literacy, maths and science hasn’t happened just by chance or fluke. The country appreciates and values education.

In Finland there is equity in education. The Education is free and it includes lunch. Students attend their closest school. There is no need to shop around for the best school as they all provide the same high quality education and educational outcomes.

The Finnish school day is much shorter than Australia’s school day and it is broken up by 15 minute play times after 45 minute learning blocks. They understand that children learn different, but essential skills in the school yard and this play-time provides an opportunity for their brains to rest from formal learning.

Primary school teachers in Finland are given similar respect as doctors and lawyers. Teaching is a highly sought-after degree and entry into university is limited and interview based. Teachers are trained in a teaching school, similar to how doctors are trained at a teaching hospital.

Based on this information what can we do in Australia to improve our educational outcomes?

  • All children should have access to equity in education. Currently the best schools are only available to those who can afford it. This leads to a society where the rich get richer and the cycle of disadvantage continues.
  • Teachers need to be valued. Teaching needs to become a ‘career of choice’. Should entry scores to a teaching degree rise and the number of university places available limited?
  • Students need to be valued. Should we consider, as Pasi suggests, taking away the lunch box providing lunch for all students and value the time out of the classroom by increasing play-time.

If Australia wishes to improve its outcomes for our young people we need to value the education system, all the people in it and be prepared to make some significant systemic transformations.

Are you ready for change?


Catherine Darkin, 2020 Participant


Are Humans the face of the Future?


What do these four jobs have in common – Digital Implant Designer, Decision Support Worker, Drone Experience Designer and a Local Community Coordinator?

Right now you are probably still trying to digest what was just asked. You are now most likely trying to contemplate a response and your main thought would be: are these even jobs? And the answer to this is no not yet, but with technological progression comes opportunity and adaptation moving into the future for employers and employees. It is crucial to remain viable in an ever-changing world.

But should technological progression be at the expense of human capital? Absolutely not. As presenters Dr Angus Hervey and Tane Hunter from Future Crunch explains, the electric automotive giant, Tesla, came to this realisation after an over-commitment on technological advances. In a Twitter post on 14 April 2018, Elon Musk the co-founder of Telsa stated “Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated”.

With this admission from a billion dollar organization and as we cast an eye towards the future, both technological advances and human resources will need to work hand-in-hand and both facets will require a level of adaptability. Too weighted on either side, that being the technological or human front, and potential issues can arise for an organisation. Which leads us to ponder the potential jobs of the future as stated at the beginning of this article. Is there a balance in these jobs? Do these positions require a balance?

At this stage it is hard to tell as in essence these are only concepts and there is an element of “crystal-balling” when predicting the future. Planning for the future is crucial. One thing is for sure though, the human race isn’t going away and we will need to be adaptable to an ever-changing landscape.

Joe Sinnott, 2020 Participant


The Economy Drivers of our Region


It is incredible to think of the vast impact that the South West dairy industry has. Approximately 22% of all milk produced within Australia comes from this region. Not only is dairy a major employer in the region, it is estimated that the industry directly injects $775 million back into the community.

Key facts to consider from the Great South Coast dairy industry:
• 1171 dairy farms
• 2 billion litres of milk produced annually
• Directly creates just under 10,000 jobs
• $969,000,000 value of milk leaving farms

How has COVID19 effected the dairy industry at present? According to Dairy Australia, the industry has seen a significant increase in the sales of dairy products, not just long life milk but cheese, fresh milk and butter. It makes sense who wouldn’t want a nice cheese platter whilst saying at home! I am thinking other industries which produce wine and sundried tomatoes have seen increased sales also!

Population is another major driver in the economy of a region. Which is why the retention and attraction of people to the Great South Coast is so important.

Future population forecasting predicts Australia has a decade of economic and population growth and this region has the potential to attract more investment and population. Early predictions on population trends within the region, show the population decreasing in the peak work/spending areas of 25 to 45 due to economic effects of COVID-19.

In light of COVID-19 and all the learnings surrounding social distancing, the trend of people living in larger metropolitan areas may be reversed and now is the time to be promoting this region.

From the slower pace of living, affordable housing, excellent education opportunities, space to live and explore.

We need to be bold in telling the story of our region. Not humble.

From inspired to educated and informed, the program day will once again have a positive impact on the participant’s leadership journey and will leave them with a greater understanding of the economy drivers within this incredible region of the Great South Coast.

Kara Winderlich, 2020 Participant

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