MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (09:53:38): I rise today to reflect on the contribution to regional Victoria, and especially western Victoria, made by Geoff Handbury, PhD, AO. Mr Handbury died this week, aged 94, after a lifetime supporting the community at a local, regional, state and even national level. Geoff Handbury pursued a commercial career in Melbourne before moving to Balmoral in 1974, welcomed into the rural community as he and his wife, Helen, transitioned into the life of regional woolgrowers. They were forever grateful for the response of that community to the point that many of their philanthropic ventures focused on western Victoria, particularly the Hamilton region. I know that Geoff Handbury was a benefactor to many organisations. I first met Geoff in 2007 in Portland at the launch of the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Portland flotilla search and rescue vessel named after Geoff’s late wife, the Helen Handbury. The wide reach of his generosity, totalling millions of dollars, encompassed medicine, medical research and health, arts, sport, education, recreation and culture. Yet to my mind one of his most outstanding contributions was to the National Centre for Farmer Health, an organisation that opened in Hamilton in 2008, so generously supported by $1 million from Geoff Handbury. This award-winning rural health program continues to provide agricultural health services and training direct to farmers and to rural health and agricultural professionals, aiming to improve the health, wellbeing and safety of our farming community. When it lost its funding in the 2014 state budget, Geoff Handbury worked so hard to reverse that decision. So many have described Geoff Handbury as a man of humility, generous of spirit, positive and a true gentleman who treated people with respect, and I do extend my deep condolences to Geoff Handbury’s four children and their extended families.
Tags: Members Statement