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This evening I acknowledge a significant anniversary last weekend in Beaconsfield in the beautiful Tamar Valley.
That was the one-year anniversary of the opening of the Bendigo Bank agency in Beaconsfield, hosted by the Beaconsfield H Hardware and Bendigo Bank agency, a real heart centre for the community.
One year of this agency's operations has continued to create a heartbeat in this community, not only for the local businesses that need somewhere to bank, but for members of the community and community organisations that otherwise would have had to travel a long distance to do their banking with the withdrawal of a service over a year ago.
On reflecting on the importance of this one-year anniversary, I want to remember the time when this service decided to leave the community, because it was right in the middle of COVID-19, and right in the middle of winter. You had a regional community in Tasmania that for a really long time had been able to do their community, school, organisational and business banking in their local town.
That was taken away at a time when we had older members of the community who had been holding physical paper passports for many years and going to the bank weekly to withdraw their cash to live their life for the week. Older members of the community were required, without notice - an email went out almost at midnight to some members, but not all members of this organisation on a Friday evening. It caused panic within the community, particularly in older members, not knowing what was happening with their bank accounts, and that they were to have just a few short weeks to determine how to continue to access their funds under management at the bank.
What I love - and one reason why I want to acknowledge this tonight - is that often when something goes wrong in community, the community calls out. They need someone else to fix something, they call on the government, or the local council, or they call on someone else and say, you have to fix this. What happened in Beaconsfield is that a local member of the community called and said, 'this is not right, what can you do', and so a local community working group was formed.
The community determined who were the people of influence, who were the people of action, and who were the people who were dedicated and passionate about their local community. They got together to form a working group to find out all the different types of banks and all financial services that could be offered in the community, and who would be willing to take the journey with this community.
A number of entities were approached, but in the end, it was Bendigo Bank that put up their hand and worked with the community to transition local banking into an agency to be hosted at the Beaconsfield Hardware. I raise this because community empowerment to provide outcomes and to continue to support their communities is really important.
Who would think that a local hardware store would be the place of banking for a community? But over the years, what is affectionately known as 'la la land' has been a centre for that community.
I want a shout out particularly to Lisa and to Taylar. It is a family-owned business and a family community centre. They personally invested time, effort and confidence.
They were willing to take a risk to host this agency, which required them to physically build it within their operations, and to put their effort into the marketing and promotion of the success of this agency for the local community. Taylar and Lisa, without you this would not have happened.
To the Beaconsfield community and to the working group, without you this would not have happened. What I have heard since is that this one project, which showed what a community could do when they worked together, has actually inspired other activity.
The West Tamar Rotary Club was active in this process to secure this agency, and since then, in Beauty Point, they have raised funds for the extension of a playground to create all-abilities access to a playground through local community action, leadership and fundraising. Again, it is a community saying, what can we do to provide the outcomes that we want in this community? It has touched lots of other communities through the West Tamar on this model of support in a local community.
I also want to shout out to the leadership of Bendigo Bank, but in particular to Jodie, whom we all love, who has taken that journey with us, and is onsite now, regularly providing her great advice and assistance to the local community. When an agency or a community bank comes in, they commit to reinvest certain funds back into the community. One of the really lovely things on the first anniversary celebration was an oversized cheque, gifted by an oversized pig, the mascot of Bendigo Bank to the Beauty Point Mini League. It is great again to see that local effort and local support being reinvested back into the community.
Today it is a shout-out to the Beaconsfield and the West Tamar community. Congratulations, it is one year down. As we all know in business, it is the first few years that are the toughest, so if you continue to support the agency, it will continue to support the local community and it is great to have that first year celebrated and behind us and looking forward to a positive, continued service of the agency in the Beaconsfield and West Tamar council areas.
October 13, 2021 - 6:25pm
Video - YouTube