Local, Independant and Effective

Hansard - Wangaratta will band together for Bruck Textiles former workers, July 15, 2014

Posted July 16, 2014


CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (21:10):  A very sad thing happened in my community of Indi last Friday, and it has a widespread impact on individuals, on families, on businesses, on the community and, indeed, on my whole electorate. Sixty people were summarily sacked from their job without entitlement, and this decision has had a huge impact on this community. The ripple effect will be felt by the churches, the schools, the sporting clubs, by business and in the wider community.

Wangaratta is a very close-knit rural community—or, more correctly, I should say an urban community. It is a caring community and I am proud to say that we have already seen examples of this community kicking in to do what needs to be done. There is lots that can be done to support the community and the individuals who have been affected by this decision.

Already people are taking action. There was a community information session today; there is a union meeting tomorrow; and lawyers in the community are offering free legal service for affected individuals and their families.

It is very important, I believe, that the people of Indi, the people of Wangaratta and the people of Bruck Mills know that they are not alone. I thank the many members of this parliament who have come up to me and offered their support and advice.

Clearly, in the first instance, to the individuals who have lost their jobs, it is their families and friends who have an important role to play to show that they are not alone. I know that already meals are being delivered, families are organising very subtle—if that is the word—social events, children are being invited to sleepovers and people are helping where they can. On a community level there is much that we can do.

Community events, music for young people, fund raising, fun and information are all important aspects. There is a saying—'Facts fight fears'—and in the circumstances that are facing the people of Wangaratta, facts and communication are really important. It is not only information about entitlements and the role of the government, but also information about services, assistance and what else is available in the community to assist the individuals affected, their families and their extended families, as well as the communities in which they are working.

Schools have a very important role to play, and in Victoria the holidays are over and our children are back in school. So I call on our schools to play their part in helping children understand what is happening and how business actually works and the morality of good business.

I call on service clubs in Wangaratta also to do their bit—not only the Lions and the Rotary Clubs, but also the churches and the neighbourhood houses. There is much we can do to provide support to the families and to the extended community that is suffering through this loss.

One of the things that comes to mind is the role of local institutions. Of particular note tonight is the role of the local paper, the Wangaratta Chronicle. It has an important role in providing information to everybody. Our local radio station, 3NE/Edge FM, and other stations let people know about services and meetings and also that Wangaratta is caring.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge in this House what a wonderful community Wangaratta is, but it is facing a really big challenge at the moment. It is a time, I suppose, for all of us to be our best selves. For me, as a leader of this community, it is to speak in this parliament about what needs to be done.

For community leaders at the state and local government levels, it is for us to be our best selves in communication, in being open and in being inclusive in what we do. For the families of the people who have been affected, it is for us all to be our best selves by being more tolerant, more caring and more compassionate than perhaps we usually are.

I ask particularly that the people of Wangaratta as a community come together to look at these challenges openly and honestly and to have the belief that together we can move through this time and that, when it is over, in a year's time we will look back and be a stronger, better and much more prosperous community.

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