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Advisory Group a win for Morwell
A newly formed Community Advisory Group (CAG) in Morwell is playing a key role in representing the community throughout the Hazelwood mine fire.
Key groups in the Morwell community were approached to provide representation for the group, in an effort to increase community connectedness with the management of the mine fire and begin the process of community engagement and community ownership of the recovery.
Morwell Football and Netball club member Howard Williams, was one of those people.
“I’m really passionate about my community and enjoy getting involved in any way I can. When I was given the opportunity to take part in the Community Advisory Group I jumped at the chance to be involved,” Mr Williams said.
“There was a desperate need for this group and it has proven to be extremely useful,” he said.
CFA Gippsland Regional Director, Mark Potter, is the CAG Chair and has seen how valuable it has become.
“It’s been great having the CAG up and running as it allows us to really connect with how the community is feeling and what they want,” Mr Potter said.
“We’ve been able to tap into a great cross section of the community with members ranging from a 15 year-old student, the local hospital Board Chair, an IT professional and several local business owners,” he said.
“The CAG is a great two-way channel. It allows us to hear what the community has to say, as well as giving us the opportunity to provide them with information to disseminate among their respective community groups."
Mr Williams, a Morwell resident since 1971, knows that having a group like the CAG is not always the case in emergencies and truly appreciates having it as a part of the response and recovery process.
“Through the CAG there has been genuine consultation, not just a self-serving reference group. We’re actually being listened to and our opinions and advice are being noted,” Mr Williams said.
“All together as a team of people trying to do something positive for the community, hopefully we can influence how we deal with this type of emergency,” he said.
As the response to the Hazelwood open cut mine fire transitions into the recovery phase, the CAG will transform into the Community Recovery Committee in the coming weeks to grant the community further ownership of the community led recovery.
“It’s been great to see members of the Morwell and surrounding communities become so integral to this response and recovery effort,” Mr Potter said.
“I hope that throughout the coming weeks and months this continues.”