Metalworkers on the Wonthaggi desalination construction project south-east of Melbourne, have donated in excess of half a million dollars in two and half years towards local and Victorian causes.
AMWU delegate Jock Irvine, a member of the AMWU members’ fundraising committee, was delighted to have exceeded the milestone of $500,000 before the project’s expected completion later this year.
“It’s been fantastic, it really has. It has put a tingle down the spine, to be able to help people out who wouldn’t have had a hope.
“From the start of the project we said ‘We want to put something back into the local community’. So anyone who was going through hardship or anyone who needed a hand we were going to support them.
“We’ve established scholarships for disadvantaged kids at the local Wonthaggi High School to get them through year 12. We’ve helped local families with the costs of funeral expenses. We’ve donated to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, the local Aboriginal community, kindergartens, sporting clubs and community groups.”
Money raised by the committee was sourced mostly through a weekly levy of $20 from AMWU members. A fundraising committee comprised of Mr Irvine and others met every fortnight to receive fundraising proposals and administer the fund.
AMWU Victoria Secretary Steve Dargavel said the union was extremely proud of the positive impact members at Wonthaggi had made.
“This has been a tremendous effort that underlines the value and power of the union collective. I’d like to congratulate everyone involved particularly Steve Mansour, Allan Mommers, Jock Irvine and Jim Traynor.
“Our members have had to deal with a campaign of negativity, from the media, from their employers to state politicians. But throughout it all they’ve worked harmoniously and efficiently and raised an enormous amount for the local and wider Victorian community.
“It’s a credit to them. Even though the fund will soon come to a close, they’ve left a lasting legacy to hundreds of not thousands of people in need. They’ve also set an example for other union collectives around the state to follow,” Mr Dargavel said.