Expo to promote security, safety
Wimmera farm safety and crime prevention will be the subject of a unique rural expo at Murtoa on September 6.
The second Rural Safe, Farm Secure breakfast expo will be at Murtoa Recreation Reserve and provide insight into everything from injury-prevention to making property more secure from criminal activity.
Murtoa Neighbourhood Watch is presenting the three-hour expo, designed to also double as a social gathering for rural communities across the region.
Event manager Robyn-maree Penny-paditz said the event was free of charge and would start with a breakfast at Murtoa Community Centre at 8.30am before programs and presentations from 9am to noon.
“As a team we are aware of how much impact crime, injuries and illnesses have on communities, whether it be on the farm or in town,” she said.
“As a Neighborhood Watch group our focus is primarily crime prevention, but as members of a small community there is a bigger picture – community wellbeing – that embraces everyone’s health and safety.
“Our motto is ‘let’s look out for each other’ and this expo is all about exploring what’s available to help us achieve this goal.”
Ms Penny-paditz said small towns relied on farmers and it was important that everyone, including people living in towns as well as on farms, was aware of opportunities to create safe and secure environments.
“When it comes to crime and occupational health and safety we’ve either heard of, or been aware of, many unfortunate circumstances,” she said.
“We want to make sure people are aware of their own assets, how to protect themselves and their properties and to make sure there are no more injuries,” she said.
The expo will involve a variety of health and emergency agencies such as Victoria Police and West Wimmera Health Service and also groups and businesses involved in either safety or crime prevention.
Ms Penny-paditz said she was keen to get as many exhibitors – including topic-specific speakers, agricultural-product suppliers, security and insurance specialists, emergency services and sponsors – involved in the morning event.
“This is a free community expo, so we will be inviting and accepting applications to join in right up to the night before. Sites are only $20,” she said.
“Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke, who has been helpful in planning, will be among guests.
“There will be three hours of displays and guest speakers that will help everyone prepare for a happy spring, summer and harvest.
“Attendees will learn more about crime prevention, being smart around machinery, firearm safety and security as well as general health, especially in the coming warmer months.
“People often push themselves to get things done before rain comes or before the crop turns.
“Corners get cut and important things like security, health and safety get pushed aside as people try to work longer and faster.
“We want people to take this opportunity to stop for a moment and think smarter – to head into harvest season with all these things fresh in their mind so that they make it through harvest with the best outcomes possible.
“We ask: when everyone is busy and pushed to their limits, can they afford to push themselves dangerously?
“If you aren’t there to harvest because you’re laid up in hospital or worse, who’s going to get the crop in?
“Equally, if you don’t secure your assets and machinery or a harvester or tractor gets stolen or damaged, who’s going to have the resources to cover you when everyone else is out using their own?
“This can also affect town residents who are out working the land, not to mention people rushing around from place to place in this rapid-dash mindset. Slow down, think smart and make the most of the information we will have at the expo.”
Ms Penny-paditz said all farming communities across the region were welcome to attend.
“You don’t have to simply be from Murtoa. We’re reaching out to as far as Ararat, Kaniva and Hopetoun and everywhere in between,” she said.
“It is primarily set up for farmers but anyone will benefit from the talks, presentations and displays, all in an informal environment.”
People keen to find out more can call Ms Penny-paditz on 0423 320 108 or email ruralsafefarmsecure@ gmail.com.