Dear valued subscriber,
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 this week we revealed the shortages stretch further, including truck drivers, 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 says, 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.
Protests on the steps of state parliament over the government's controversial pandemic bill hit abhorrent levels this week with gallows and nooses sighted. The threat of violence against MPs cannot be tolerated. The scenes were un-Australian. And the violence against Western Victoria MP Andy Meddick's daughter was disgraceful. State MP Roma Britnell came under fire for what she said was talking to constituents rallying on the steps of parliament but some interpreted her conversations and presence as support for the protests.
Ian Smith was a shock choice as Moyne Shire's new mayor after a drawn-out process that included him saying just days earlier that he wouldn't stand for the top job.
Warrnambool City Council hosted a business conference earlier in the week that gave owners positivity as they enter the new 'normal'. Special guest was TV personality Catriona Rowntree.
Fuel prices are nudging record levels in the region and there's no sign of relief, it seems.
Warrnambool photographer and philanthropist Perry Cho deserves every bit of praise for his calendar that raises money for charity. We featured some of the incredible images earlier in the week (and above) as the calendar went on sale. Proceeds go to Warrnambool and District Food Share and the $60,000 goal is in sight. Great effort from Perry and Breakwater Insurance's Michael Dennis. Calendars are available from South West Credit. We do have a few to giveaway so respond to this email before noon on Monday and you will go into the draw for one of them. Lucky readers will be notified.
It's been a big week for our team with the launch of our long-awaited new app. For those wanting easy access to our latest news, download the app which is available for both Apple products and androids via the App Store and Googleplay.
Have a great week.
Until next Sunday, stay safe.
Greg Best, Editor, The Standard
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