When the first COVID-19 lockdown hit in March last year, preserving jobs was a key element of government survival plans.
Do you remember the lines outside Centrelink offices as businesses were forced to scale down or cease operating? Mums and dads had lost their jobs and perhaps for the first time since World War II and even the Great Depression, families in large numbers were wondering where their food might come from.
The region's charities were inundated with calls for assistance as the impacts emerged.
The future looked bleak.
Many families are still doing it tough across the region as we enter the next stage in the pandemic recovery.
With most COVID-19 restrictions lifted on Thursday night for vaccinated people, businesses are able to return to 'almost normal'. But many find themselves without enough staff to return to pre-pandemic capacity.
We have highlighted shortages in the health industry several times in recent months, so too hospitality and the trades. But today we revealed the shortages stretch further, including security and music teachers.
Many workers were forced to find different ways of earning a crust during the past 18 months or so.
Instead of there being no jobs as we emerge from the pandemic, there's plenty of jobs but not enough workers. Who saw that coming?
As Warrnambool's Westvic Staffing Solutions chief executive officer Dean Luciani said, it's good news for those looking for work, they're spoilt for choice.
But what are the solutions?
"There's just not much to work with, so what we need to potentially do is encourage people to do more work or to potentially move from part-time to full-time jobs to fill the gap," he said.
Skilled migration and the return of backpackers will also be important for our region, so there's plenty of work to be done at various levels to get our region humming. It's time to roll up the sleeves.