Helping a way of life for humble Neville
HIS resume barely has any more room but Neville Goodwin will have to make space for his latest accomplishment: a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
The Woodleigh farmer has been contributing to the district, Bass Coast Shire and beyond since he and wife Lyn moved to their farm in 1980 with children Wayne and Rachelle.
Mr Goodwin received the national honour today – Australia Day – in recognition of his longstanding service to local government and the community of the Bass Coast.
“I feel quite humbled by it. They do not hand a lot of them out, do they?” he said.
“I thank the people who think I’m worthy of it and I just have to continue to try and honour what the medal stands for.”
Community service, for Mr Goodwin, is simply a way of living.
“If there is a need, someone has to put their hand up. People are important, community is important,” he said.
“I’m not sure everyone understands how important the community is, and being part of the community and looking out for each other.
“At the end of the day, that’s all we have left: family and community. Each person has to do their bit.”
Of course, he noted the support of his wife of 62 years for backing his community interests.
He has served as a councillor with two shires: the former Bass Valley council and the current Bass Coast Shire Council, the later from 1992-2008 during which time he was the council’s longest serving mayor from 2004-2008.
“I think my legacy was having a cohesive council, and that is the staff and the councillors,” he said.
Through council, Mr Goodwin was part of the Bass Coast Economic Development Board, South Gippsland Road Safety Committee, Gippsland Local Government Network, West Gippsland Regional Library Board, Bass Coast Municipal Emergency Management Board and Bass Coast Police Consultative Committee.
After his stint with Bass Valley in the early 1980s, he was appointed a commissioner of the new Wyndham City Council at Werribee, travelling there from his Woodleigh home every day for three years.
“I’ve always been one to try and take people with me and have them be part of the process,” he said.
“It might take a bit longer but at the end of the day, you get a better result for the community.”
Despite ill health, Mr Goodwin continues to chair the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority, be a member of the Bass Coast Regional Health board and serve as a director of the National Vietnam Veterans Museum at Newhaven.
Rotary has been a major part of his community service. He was a member of the Werribee and Wonthaggi clubs, including three terms as president with the latter, and was named a Paul Harris Fellow.
When his children became involved with the former Loch Football Netball Club, Mr Goodwin served as president of the club and the club trustees, and later was president of the Bass Valley and Wonthaggi District Football League for many years.
He looks back on his footy days with bemusement.
“Under my leadership, the Loch Football Club closed down and the Bass Valley and Wonthaggi District Football League closed down, so my record as an administrator in football is not outstanding,” he said.
“We had to amalgamate the leagues to be sustainable. I have this philosophy that country football is about providing recreation for boys and girls. It’s not about winning but participation.”
Mr Goodwin has been a committee member of the Grantville Market for some 26 years and as a dairy farmer, was secretary of the number 17 district council of the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria.
He has contributed significant service to the Liberal Party on a professional and personal level.
He was an electorate officer for former Bass MLA Ken Smith, and managed his election campaign and also the campaign of current McMillan MP Russell Broadbent.
With such a broad and consistent contribution to the community, it was little wonder Mr Goodwin was named Citizen of the Year in Bass Coast Shire in 2012 and mayor emeritus of the state’s peak local government body, the Municipal Association of Victoria.
Mr Goodwin will receive his OAM at Government House in April or May.
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