I take this opportunity to speak on the passing of Josie Black, a passionate
social justice campaigner who passed away last Friday morning, 11 September. The
headline in Saturday’s Warrnambool Standard read ‘One of a kind’, and there is
not a better description for Josie Black, who was a passionate leader and
champion for rural people. The roll call of leadership roles Josie Black held is
far too long to list in 90 seconds. However, it includes: chair of the Terang
and Mortlake Health Service; manager of the Corangamite Youth Enterprise
project; chair of the Corangamite District Adult Education Group; chair of the
Greater Green Triangle Area Consultative Committee; and board member of the
South West Institute of TAFE.
Josie Black was a tireless worker and a magnificent advocate
for communities in Western Victoria.
She was named Corangamite shire citizen of the year in 1998,
was awarded an Order of Australia medal in 2000 and the Centenary Medal in 2003
for her contribution to community and education, and was inducted into the
Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2007. Josie Black was the embodiment of
community spirit, encouraging everyone around her to do their best and to do
their best for the community.
We are left with more than the legacy of this strong woman,
with the South West Community Foundation. It was established by Josie to ensure
that funds continue to be raised for community projects and education.
Fittingly, the foundation honoured Josie Black’s work with the creation of
Josie’s Fund. I would like to extend my condolences to Josie Black’s family.
Western Victoria, particularly the south-west, is poorer for her passing. We
will all miss her deeply.