In a G21 first, over 65 members and stakeholders attended the G21 AGM via Zoom on Thursday, November 12.
CEO Elaine Carbines reflected on the year that has been like no other. Early in 2020 people and businesses across the G21 region emerged from the summer break full of optimism for the year ahead.
The City Deal for Geelong and the Great Ocean Road had been signed in 2019 ensuring a future $370 million stream of region-building investments, new housing construction was booming and unemployment across the region was trending down.
Then, the COVID-19 thunderbolt struck.
As a result, the G21 Board has turned its attention to planning for the major economic and social rebuilding that will be needed to transition out of COVID-19.
G21 joined other peak regional bodies to issue joint statements to state and federal governments ahead of the delayed state and federal Budgets. Regional projects to help achieve that recovery were identified. G21 worked on the basis that locals are best at understanding local needs.
In a difficult year, G21 and the region will emerge from 2020 stronger and more determined.
A highlight of the evening was keynote speaker Frances Diver, Chief Executive Officer at Barwon Health who spoke about the unique challenges she had faced at Barwon Health over the past 18 months.
She started with the cyber security attack late last year, which resulted in the shutdown of all organisation applications and impacted operations in the entire region.
The incident highlighted how important a regional health service is – Barwon Health could not simply close its doors. Whilst difficult, it produced an enormous effort to become innovative and make sure patients weren’t impacted.
Barwon Health were recovering from this, when they then faced the challenge of supporting local communities to manage the spread of COVID-19 in the region.
With enormous effort from staff, Barwon Health were able to undertake the contact tracing function, which showed their strong commitment and community connection.
Now, attention has turned to the implementation of a vaccination program.
We welcome Keith Baillie (Chief Executive Officer of Gforce Employment Solutions) and Kean Selway (Chief Operating Officer at Deakin University), who were elected to the Board for a two-year period, as well as Rowena Clift (Chief Executive Officer at Western Victoria Primary Health Network) who will complete a one-year term on the Board.
Prior to the close of the evening, those who had made a strong contribution to G21 were acknowledged.
Outgoing G21 Chair Bill Mithen was recognised for serving four years as Board Chair as well as completing three, two-year terms on the Board. As a trustworthy, caring and compassionate leader, his strong commitment to social justice will be missed.
Awards also went to former G21 Directors; Damian Armour, Keith Baillie, Patti Manolis and Cr Jason Schram.