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Are we able to smack a child?


Is smacking a child acceptable in today’s world? What is considered Family Violence? What would you do if you become aware of Family Violence?

Let’s explore these questions.

Mum, Dad, and their three children have just moved into a new house. Mum is unpacking the kitchen; Dad is setting up the beds and the children are running wild with excitement.

One child has jumped on the glass table and dad has quickly pushed him off the table.

Is this family violence?

The child hits his head on the ground.

Do you consider this now family violence?

The child now has a concussion and is vomiting. He is taken to the hospital.

Is this now family violence?

The dad explains the events to the doctor, the doctor is required to report the events to Child Protection and the Police. The dad was charged with unlawful assault and an intervention order was put in place.

What else could the dad have done? Told the child to hop off the table or picked him up off the table.

This brings us back to the question, is smacking kids allowed?

In Australia we have-

  • laws that say we can’t hit adults
  • laws that we can’t hit animals
  • there are no laws about smacking children

There are laws already in countries of Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark that have all made it illegal to smack a child. Is it time Australia takes the same stance? We have laws to protect children from excessive discipline, but what is that? We all see ‘excessive’ differently.

Family violence is an issue in the community. White Ribbon says ‘on average, one woman a week is killed by her intimate male partner’, and on average police attend a family violence incident every six minutes in Victoria.  In 30% of those cases a child was present at the incident. Family violence can be Emotional, Psychological, Financial, Sexual, and Physical Abuse.

If you become aware of this occurring to a colleague, friend, or family member there are resources that you can link them into-

Thank you to our guest speakers, that opened our eyes up to safety issues within our community-

  • Magistrate Simon Guthrie
  • Carla Sudholz- Court Register, Warrnambool Law Courts
  • Chris Asenjo- Detective Senior Sergeant, VicPol
  • Carolyn Howe- Specialist Family Violence Prosecutor, Victoria Police
  • Jodie Outtram- Alcohol and Other Drug Clinician, South West Healthcare

Daniel Pearson, 2022 LGSC Participant


Can the Great South Coast Tell the Bold Stories?


There is a way to grow and secure the economic future of the Great South Coast’s (GSC) economy despite sitting outside the gravitational pull of Melbourne, the loss of thousands of jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and young adults packing their bags and heading to the big city leaving the region with a higher than average age profile. But we need strong leadership and courage to tell the bold stories.

Simon Kuestenmacher, co-founder and director at The Demographics Group, implored us to understand the trends and changes of our region at both a local and world scale, so we can make informed decisions on our future. Australia is the 13th largest economy (GDP/capita) in the world and growing. The majority of our trillion-dollar international trading is with our Asian neighbours who are experiencing massive growth and by 2030 will contain mega cities with over a million people each. Charlie McElhone, Group Manager Trade & Industry Strategy at Dairy Australia, described Greater China and South East Asia as the two biggest markets consuming dairy in 2021/22. The GSC is one of the largest producers and processors of milk in Australia with an economic contribution of $1.99 billion in gross regional product (GRP) and 12,400 jobs after flow-on effects. We have the industry and the market but what are our threats?

Although the GSC sits two hours outside the gravitational pull of Melbourne, Simon showed the region has seen an increase in house prices ranging from 18% to 34% in the past year, increasing prices to an unattainable level for many. Charlie estimates a 3.5% decline in milk production this season from last season. Some threats being lack of labour, competition for land and higher beef prices. Natalie Collard, Executive Officer at Food & Fibre Great South Coast, described how some GSC communities don’t have access to adequate services to efficiently operate their businesses.

Given this, what is our bold story? We need to invest in us, the GSC, invest in new technology, infrastructure and use of natural resources sustainably and we will continue to provide world class dairy, food and fibre products for years to come. We also need to have the courage and creative thinking as leaders to invest in retaining staff, to then attract employees into the region. Are you up for the challenge?

Thank you to Simon, Charlie, Natalie and Brendan Rea from Solaris Farms for providing us with an insight into how the economy drives the Great South Coast.

Justin Harzmeyer, 2022 LGSC Program Participant


It’s very hard to condense 36,000+ years into a day!


When was the last time you spent time on Country, learning about first nations peoples and their land? Gunditjmara Country has a rich history and the Gunditjmara people can’t wait to share it!

Throughout the day we heard stories from local Gunditjmara people.  At the Heywood War Memorial Water Tower, which rises from the ground in a splash of colour and as we stood under it, LGSC alumni Troy Lovett, a Gunditjmara and Yorta-Yorta Man, told the story of the 5 Gunditjmara men depicted in the mural. Five men went to war for their country, who hoped to regain their stolen lands, who in the trenches were treated like equals but when they returned, the soldier settlement never came.

Braydon Saunders, a Gunditjmara Man and Tour Guide Coordinator with Budj Bim Cultural Landscape Tourism, took us back in time at Tae Rak (Lake Condah). Back to 2019, when the site was World Heritage listed, to the 1980s when the Gunditjmara people began their quest for native title, back to the 1940s and 50s when a European installed drain changed the landscape and damaged the ecosystem, and finally back to pre-European days when Tae Rak eels was an important food source.

Gunditjmara woman, Erin Rose the Budj Bim World Heritage Executive Officer at Gunditj Mirring, spoke to us about getting the world’s oldest aqua system inscribed as a World Heritage Site, the first in Australia to be listed purely on its cultural significance. A key element of this is the management and enhancement of the site, which is managed in partnership with other local groups and government organisations.

Although it is impossible to fit 36,000 years into a day, our speakers filled the day with stories that educated, humoured and challenged us. This showed me that good story telling is a very powerful leadership skill. Like our first nations peoples, we can use the art of storytelling to motivate, inspire, connect, build understanding, heal and unite.

I encourage you to hear the stories first-hand at the various sites across the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape and the new Tae Rak Aquaculture Centre (opening later this year) is a great addition where you learn about the significance of the landscape and experience the most culturally inclusive building I have ever seen—another great example of what community consultation and storytelling can achieve.

Thank you to Troy, Braydon and Erin for your time and your stories—you are our bushfire and we will be your embers—starting spot fires of conversation.

Leesa ClausenBrown, 2022 LGSC Program Participant


To Communicate or Not Communicate? That Is the Question


Communicate with intention.  It sounds like such a simple concept – or so we might think.  Surely, we all communicate with intention?

Communicating with intention is precisely what the Leadership Great South Coast participants were implored to do by Ailiche Goddard-Clegg during her presentation on ‘Communication and Community Engagement’ at our recent Community Leadership in Action Program Day. Ailiche explained that intentional communication is critical to achieving success with our upcoming community projects, and it is this concept that has prompted self-reflection.

I’d like to think that I communicate with intention – whether it is via email, phone, or in person. However, it doesn’t take too long to recall plenty of occasions when my communication could be described as anything but intentional. In our current world, with the constant enticements of social media to tell your friends ‘what’s on your mind?’ or share your thoughts with the world (but only if it is in 280 characters or less) we realise that intentional communication may be easier said than done. I cringe to think of the Facebook posts I shared in the early days of using the social media platform – from commenting on the excitement of being on holidays, to how great my avocado on toast was on the weekend.  Yes, I wanted to share this information with others, but is this information really worth sharing?

Whilst social media platforms used to communicate with friends and family don’t need or require us to communicate with intention in the way Ailiche describes, it provides a frame of reference for the sort of environment we are currently in – one where we are frequently being encouraged to communicate without intention. Communication for the sake of communication.

How do we ensure that we are communicating with intent? Ailiche reminds us that news needs to be newsworthy. We need to think carefully about what our audience needs to know, and to consider the key elements of who, what, where, when and how? It is these concepts and this advice that will prepare our four project teams to achieve effective communication and likely project success.

Thank you to both our speakers Ailiche Goddard-Clegg and Bernadette Northeast for sharing their knowledge with us at our program day.

Claire Dagley, 2022 LGSC Program Participant

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