Today is an unusual ANZAC Day for me, and indeed for all Australians and New Zealanders. Whilst normally we would be attending either the Boulder or Kalgoorlie RSL’s Dawn Services and parades, this morning we reflect quietly in our homes, as the recognition we are so used to giving our servicemen and servicewomen on ANZAC Day is not possible this year.
This is driven by a need to be responsible, and help take care of our community as a whole, but it also makes me reflect on our service people and how, in times of war they are facing a more extreme version of what we are experiencing now – isolated, in danger and away from their family, friends and loved ones.
Whilst we have not been able to participate in the traditional dawn service, I know of hundreds of households around Kalgoorlie-Boulder who were planning to take part in a driveway dawn service, tuning in to hear the service being broadcast from the National War Memorial in Canberra.
Today, to ensure social distancing, Deputy Mayor Lisa Malicky and I went to the Boulder War Memorial and the Kalgoorlie War Memorial respectively, and laid wreaths on behalf of the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder in respect of the courage, service and sacrifice of our Australian and New Zealand Defence Force members, not just at Gallipoli, but in all conflicts they have served in.
As a community, we have been strong and responsible, and we are starting to see the hard work we have done to combat the coronavirus come to fruition, with only 2 new cases in Western Australia over the past seven days.
In an effort to ensure our local economy, and subsequently our broader community, can rebound from the impacts of coronavirus, Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Kyle McGinn MLC and I hosted a meeting on Monday with local mining industry leaders and service contractors. I am pleased with the outcomes of this, as all parties acknowledged that they need each other to remain viable and strong, so we can survive.
Local mining companies reacted as you would expect when the peak of the infection rate was amongst us by cutting back to the bare essentials.
Now that things have settled down and we can start planning for the future with some assurance I hope the local contractors are re-engaged, sooner rather than later.
The clear message from the Premier Mark McGowan to myself in a teleconference was to keep every job possible and even to bring forward contracts the City was planning for next year.
As your Mayor I’m very proud, and I know that goes for the 12 Councillors as well, that every employee of the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder has kept their job. Many regional councils have had to either retrench or reduce the hours their employees work.
If we think that our troubles are enormous and getting us down, reflect today on those who have paid the ultimate price in even worse circumstances defending our nation.