This past week I have been reminded of the resilience and community spirit of the people of my electorate.
I have had the pleasure of visiting the soon-to-be-completed South West Regional Cancer Centre in Warrnambool. This impressive new facility highlights perfectly what can be achieved when a community stands together.
A Warrnambool woman, Vicki Jellie, set about fulfilling the last wish of her late husband, Peter, that people in the south-west could have radiation therapy close to home. People in the south-west stood behind her and raised an incredible $5 million community contribution in just nine months.
Now, seven years later, the centre is almost ready to open.
I was proud to call Peter a friend. Even though he died in 2008, his number is still in my phone; I cannot bring myself to delete it. He supported me in my early journey into dairy farming, and I will be forever thankful for his guidance.
Now he will continue to give to the community through the passion and dedication of his wife, Vicki, and through the centre fought for in his name.
That, coupled with the as-usual quick response of Country Fire Authority volunteers to come together and march loudly in Warrnambool in disgust of the enterprise bargaining agreement that those opposite are steamrolling through, again reminded me why I am so proud to represent South-West Coast.
For decades through times of need people in the country community have stood together.
Be it during times of drought or fire or to help when a death occurs on a neighbouring farm, they have backed each other, and nothing this Labor government will do will ever stop that.