We are writing to you today to share our pride and gratitude for the incredible work of each and every HACSU member throughout this pandemic crisis. Your bravery and commitment to your work and the people you work with continues to astound us; and your perseverance through tough times like these motivates us. The Health and Community Services Union is made up of thousands of strong, dedicated members who are consistently striving to provide the best supports in our community – and we thank you for your service.
It has not been the easiest start to the year in 2020. Throughout much of Victoria, as well as in other states, we saw devastating bushfires tear across this beautiful nation. Many HACSU members bore witness first-hand to the destruction and some were directly affected by the harm these fires enacted. We saw our communities both metropolitan and regional come together to support each other and show solidarity for each other. We are proud to be part of a community of workers who fought against these fires, provided critical care and support to those affected and reached out to each other in times of need.
Almost immediately following on from what was one of the most traumatic fire seasons in history, the coronavirus pandemic hit our shores. What at first may have been underestimated by some has become a global catastrophe. We have seen a considerable spike in demand for mental health services, shortages of PPE across the country and significant changes to the way we work affecting us all.
Yet again, we are humbled by the way in which HACSU members have responded. We have risen to the challenges in front of us and raised our collective voice to ensure that we are not taken advantage of during this critical time. HACSU is a strong union, and together, with your support, we have proved this once more. We demanded the Federal and State Governments take notice of us, from mental health workers and disability workers to those working in the AOD sector, Government Ministers have acknowledged the work you do, and the risks posed to you at work, by this virus.
We are not through this critical period yet, there will be further change we will confront. Together, we know we will not only get through this; we will come out stronger on the other side. Thank-you to all members, not only for the work you do every day to support vulnerable Victorians, but also for your loyalty to this union. We also thank you for your part in increasing your awareness of hygiene measures and for performing social distancing whenever possible; we know this isn’t easy in the jobs you do. We look forward to being able to meet with you again face-to-face and hearing your ideas about how we move forward together in a world changed by this pandemic.
Paul Healey, HACSU State Secretary.
Kate Marshall, HACSU Assistant State Secretary.