As the year 2020 draws to a close, I feel that this is an opportunity to reflect back on the year that was. This year has left us with many mixed emotions. There’s no doubt that 2020 was full of challenges, the unrelenting and heartbreaking bushfires, the floods, the drought that devastated the length and breadth of our country and the pandemic that shattered so many lives. It feels almost cliché to point out the obvious, that these are truly unprecedented times.
Looking back on my own 2020, the word that comes to mind is strength. The strength of our communities and the spirit and determination of our members. As many of you know, I worked in food services for nearly 35 years and as a long time health worker, I know that often as a workforce we simply put our heads down and do the work that needs to be done.
There’s little glory in our work and we aren’t paid a king’s ransom to do what we do. We carry out our work because it’s our job to look after the sick and the vulnerable, the aged and the frail – and there’s honour in that. But this year has been the worst that I can remember for people in our sectors. You have endured the harshest conditions and I want you to know how proud I am of every single HSU member for the resilience that your have shown getting on with the job whilst protecting yourselves and your families.
Our Secretary, Gerard Hayes and I were determined to ensure that throughout this year your union would be standing on the frontlines with you, supporting you, ensuring that your rights were protected in the workplace, advocating for adequate PPE and providing you with hand sanitiser (and chocolates). This year I’ve also seen the HSU getting involved in some really important initiatives. The first that comes to mind is the RDVSA (Rape and Domestic Violence Services of Australia) to assist our members who are experiencing family and domestic violence. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Aged Care Manager, Lauren Hutchins for the hard work that she had done ensuring our involvement in this. The second is Foundation House, I continue to sit on the board and in the last 12 months I’ve learnt just how important this service is to our members. I’ve fielded many calls in over the last six months from members seeking assistance and I’m beyond pleased that we’ve been able to support these members in this way. If you need assistance or you’d like more information about these initiatives, please contact us.
This year I’ve also been fortunate enough to work with an amazing group of people on our newly formed Indigenous Development Fund Committee. I’d like to thank all those that applied for a position on the committee – it’s a so encouraging to see so much engagement with this important initiative. Finally, I’d like to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous new year.