THIS week marks 10 years since the pain and loss of south-west families resulted in the provision of a helicopter rescue service for the south-west.
The tragedies that bureaucrats and politicians could not eventually ignore are still raw to this day, but the families of those who were lost when they were a chance of being saved turned their grief into a powerful force for change for the better.
It seems obscene that money was the argument against the provision of the service given that it has now been used by over 2000 patients.
But the people of the south-west must once again marshall their strength.
For the last 10 years or more, governments both state and federal have ignored the painful need to fix the region's roads and thus reduce the need for the HEMS4 helicopter and therefore reduce the road toll.
The pilots, medical teams and support crew would be the first to tell you that nothing would make them happier than to have less call-outs to rush critically injured or dying victims of accidents on our shocking roads to hospitals in Melbourne.
Think of it as preventative medicine, if you will.
The people of the south-west must rally and take the fight to Spring Street. The families of people who died for no other better reason than money. The businesses who are losing money. The dairy farmers whose precious produce becomes harder to move. The freight companies whose vehicles are being shaken apart by traversing the goat's tracks we call roads.
The people of the south-west must demand our local politicians - the Member for Wannon Dan Tehan (and a cabinet minister no less), Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell, our mayors and councillors - join them on the steps of Parliament House to demand action until we get what we both need and deserve.
It is bewildering and infuriating that voices of pain and loss must now once again he heard and used to effect change for the better.
But if that is what it takes, so be it.
For without peaceful, sustained and evidential reasoning, it is too easy for governments of all colours and hues to dole out handfuls of cash against the gargantuan billions being spent elsewhere.
Set against the mammoth size of infrastructure projects elsewhere in Victoria and the nation, the $300 million needed to fix the Princes Highway is lunch money.
But it is "lunch money" that can save lives, support and grow businesses and foster the future of the region.