It is such a wonderful honour to be able to rise and pay tribute to Warrnambool’s Vicki Jellie, who was named Australia’s Local Hero for 2017 as part of the national Australia Day awards. I have spoken about Vicki in this place before. She is a truly remarkable woman, and my electorate is so fortunate to have her as one of its own. In 2008 when Vicki’s husband, Peter, passed away from cancer, she found plans he had made for a fundraiser. He had planned to kickstart a campaign to have radiotherapy services offered in Warrnambool. During his treatment Peter had to travel to Melbourne, spending the precious last few weeks of his life away from his friends, family and support networks in Warrnambool, and he did not want others to have that same experience.
So Vicki pursued his dream. She started Peter’s Project and rallied the community. She was told it would never happen, but she and the Peter’s Project committee did not give up. With the backing of the community they lobbied relentlessly and secured funding from the federal and state coalition governments. Then with Vicki as the leader the community raised $5 million in just nine months. We now have our brilliant cancer centre, which has already changed many lives of people in our community. It stands as a beacon to remind us that when we stand together, shoulder to shoulder as a community, even when are told we will not win, with determination we can achieve great things. Congratulations, Vicki. The whole of South-West Coast and I are so very proud of you.