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Latest News




Looking Through the Green Triangle Window


Portland Aluminium, with an annual turn-over of $550M per year and employing hundreds of locals is currently facing the challenge that they may cease production in the coming years. The potential closure is relating to the inability to secure a new power contract for the plant that most people have come to put on a pedestal as the towns major employer.

What is our regions strategy?

Other industrial businesses in the town have been working diligently to pick up the slack and remove their eggs from one basket in a bid to maintain the towns proud stance as the Great South Coast’s industrial epicentre.

Ranging from 160 metre giant wind towers that populate our state’s landscapes produced at Keppel Prince to the 5.36 million tonnes of product handled last financial year at the Port of Portland, the two next largest business in town are evolving and expanding.

And there is a new player emerging from the shadows. One that has the potential to further invigorate the region and push it into the spotlight for whole world to see. It has the potential to produce 3,000 tonnes of green fuel per annum, using green fuel to do so setting the benchmark high.

So, what is it?

A mass production hydrogen processing plant is being scoped by the Committee for Portland for the Heywood area with potential to create 650 new positions and feed our country and the hungry Asian market with the clean fuel. It also has the potential to feed the Hycel project – hydrogen fueled power cell research being spearheaded at Deakin University’s Warrnambool Campus. A project working toward further eliminating fossil fuels.

It’s a matter of when and not if the smelter will cease production. The “when” part is yet to be determined. Portland has no need to be worried, as it is well placed to dominate Victoria’s industrial green scene and lead us into the future.

Jason Van Der Heyden, 2020 Participant


Midyear Workshop Smiles


Our aspiring leaders took time out to develop their leadership skills  – including communication skills, coming to fully appreciate and feel the benefits of honest empathetic feedback and understand their personal brand is a jigsaw that starts with the your visual voice and extending to body language, social media presence and so much more.

We had conversations we needed to have in these ever changing times – it is leadership in action we are adapting and supporting each other. Thanks to our Lead Facilitator the wonderful Corrinne Armour https://corrinnearmour.com/ click our Gallery tab for more pics.

Our Lead Facilitator

#leadership #community #bethechange Regional Leadership #greatsouthcoast


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

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