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The Truth about Traditional Owners


Sometimes the truth can be uncomfortable. The uncomfortable truth is most Australians do not have an in-depth idea of the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Collectively, we also fail to recognise the overt and covert discrimination which is faced by the Indigenous population.

A general knowledge quiz was conducted to the group at Our Local Indigenous Culture Program Day. Two-thirds of the questions were related to white Australia and mainstream overseas whilst one-third of the questions related to Indigenous Australians (and more specifically the Gunditjmara and Djab Wurrrung areas). Quite predictably, if not shamefully, our knowledge of the Indigenous history, food, music and people is lacking.

An important observation which was raised at our Program Day, is the lack of education in our schools. I was only in school ten years ago and I was never taught anything about the Traditional Owners of these lands. I understand that Aboriginal history is being embedded into the curriculum but there is still more to do.

The history of the Traditional Owners needs to be told. Accepting the atrocities of the past can hopefully mean a more united and equal future. As citizens of this region and this country we all have a responsibility to listen and learn from the Traditional Owners of this Land. With a more profound understanding of the Indigenous history, hopefully we can strive for true and fair reconciliation. A great place to start is Deadly Questions – You ask. Aboriginal Victorians Answer.

On behalf of the group, I give a heartfelt thank you to our speakers, Kylie Moroney (2021 LGSC Program Participant) and Emily Falla (2020 LGSC Alumni) Manager Aboriginal Programs, South West Healthcare.

Jamie Pepper, 2021 Program Participant


EOI Tarrington Water Tower Green Space Project


Leadership Great South Coast, in partnership with the Tarrington Progress Association, Tarrington Senior Citizens and Wannon Water, is calling for expressions of interest from landscapers to complete the major works required to establish a community green space at the base of the Tarrington Water Tower (7892 Hamilton Highway, Tarrington, VIC 3301).

Tarrington is an idyllic community, close to Hamilton in the Southern Grampians Shire. In the middle of this town sits a decommissioned water tower. The Tarrington community would like to transform this unused piece of land into a green space for the whole community to enjoy. The final product will be an accessible, multi-purpose green space that will encourage inter-generational connection between the senior citizens and school children.

 A beautiful and productive green space that facilitates intergenerational social connection, recreational time in nature, and shared community responsibility.

You can access the Expression of Interest doc for the Tarrington Water Tower Project Here


Access Photos of Tarrington Water Tower Here

Selection Process

Step 1: From the completed expressions of interest, the landscaper with the strongest application will be invited for an onsite meeting (or online if necessary) with the project team to further discuss the project. If the landscaper is considered well suited to the project after this meeting, they will be selected.


Step 2: In consultation with the project team, the selected landscaper will finalise the design and cost of the project. The project team will review the final design and cost and, after any required alterations or negotiations, a contract will be written up for the landscaping work.


Step 3: The work will commence once the contract is signed off by all parties. The date of completion will be negotiated between both parties, likely to be late November.


Step Up – for Governance sake


“We cannot be mere consumers of good governance, we must be participants; we must be co-creators.” Rohini Nilekani

On a daily basis our lives are guided by governance in one form or another, some we can see and some we can’t, and most of which we take for granted having never really given any regard to its inception or purpose. However, I question what type of society would we live in without some level of governance in place? At our Leadership in Action program day, we explored the importance of governance and the need for people to step up and use their voice.

We know governance provides the rules, systems and mechanisms that makes things work. Morgana Ryan, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, described the roles of Boards, Committees, CEO’s and other key stakeholders, and how there is an order in the organisational hierarchy, bound by a constitution, all there to build stronger communities and businesses.

Bruce Anderson, Director of the Anderson Partnership pointed out, stepping up requires passion and commitment, a willingness to be more than just ‘interested’.

Marcus Stewart, of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria described the journey Aboriginal people and their communities are undertaking to achieve a Treaty between themselves and the Victorian State Government. Describing himself as an elected Piñata, Marcus was able to present, through the shared stories of lived and historic experience, an example where elected State Governments no longer (if they ever did) serve all the people they’re entrusted to represent equally.

Supporting change and avoiding making the same mistakes requires commitment and courage. The sounds of more people’s voices echoing learnings of the past, with a view to the future, will be the enablers of good governance.

Are you ready to step up to a governance role? Be brave, the future is bright.

I acknowledge and thank all of the day’s presenters Morgana Ryan, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors; Bruce Anderson, Director, The Anderson Partnership; Marcus Stewart, First Peoples Assembly of Victoria, and Andrew Wear, Author Recovery, for their insightful presentations and building upon my faith in ‘Governance’.

Peter McLauchlan and Paul Dunn, 2021 Program Participants.


The overwhelming, complicated & misrepresented world of state politics


Armed with three seasons of ABC’s “Utopia”, social media posts, snippets of news stories and the uninformed opinions of friends and family… it was safe to say that I went into Our Democracy at Work program day, as an expert on all things State Government… how thoroughly and embarrassingly naïve I was.

What struck home for me was our discussion with the Hon Colin Brooks MP, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and Steph Ryan MP, Deputy Leader of the Nationals. Colin and Steph broke my preconceptions of what a political member was and represented. Colin was a down to earth “sparky” with a passion for his local community. He discussed his journey into politics, the relevance of his job as Speaker and even shared a fun fact about a tradition of when speakers are elected…granted, less forcefully than it was in early times from which this tradition came from. Steph Ryan was grounded,  compassionate, passionate and determined stepping up as a leader to be a voice for regional Victoria. Surprisingly, she never had plans to pursue a career in politics…this was not what I had thought our politicians were. These were regular people! They are like me, my work mates, my friend sand my family. There was a theme emerging!

By the end of the day, I realised that my view of the Victorian state political system had been thoroughly skewed by my environment. These members had shown instances of passion, vulnerability, strength, frustration, sadness and empathy. Most importantly, they were standing up as leaders to be the voice of their community. Maybe it’s easy for us to blame our members when times are tough or when our community isn’t as great as we had hoped it to be… or maybe, it’s time for us to get involved, to use our voice, and if we feel unheard, to do what our local members have done, and take a courageous step forward and represent our community as a state member – a Leader.


I would like to thank Andres Lomp, Community Engagement Manager, and the tour guides at the Parliament of Victoria, Amy Mackintosh, Philip Stoits and Patrick Boribon for their Virtual Tour of both the Legislative Assembly and Council Chambers (Lower and Upper House), Robert McDonald, Deputy Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, and Keir Delaney, Assistant Clerk Procedure of the Legislative Council, for the informative session on the workings of the Victorian Parliament, the Honourable Colin Brooks MP, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, MP Steph Ryan, Deputy leader of the Nationals, and Roma Britnell MP, Member for South West Coast, for sharing their journeys and experience in politics. You have all given us an inciteful and engaging representation of the history, traditions, procedures and people that make up our State Government.

Aaron Leddin, 2021 Program Participant

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