House debates

Monday, 15 February 2021

Constituency Statements

Calwell Electorate: Grech, Mr Charlie

10:54 am

Photo of Maria VamvakinouMaria Vamvakinou (Calwell, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

At our Australia Day citizenship ceremony this year, it was an honour to be present when Mr Charlie Grech was named Hume City Council Senior Citizen of the Year. Charlie was unfortunately unable to attend in person to accept the award because he was in hospital and seriously ill. His son, Dr Charles Grech accepted the award on his behalf. Sadly, Charlie passed away last Wednesday, and I want to say some things today about Charlie's 40-year service to our local community. Charlie's community mindedness and his desire to make a difference led him to serve nine years as a councillor with the former City of Broadmeadows. His passionate advocacy for local issues saw him play an integral part in shaping some of the more significant and enduring community projects, including the Broadmeadows Hospital, the Rotary Park at Johnstone Street and the establishment of Northern Brite Industries, which today continues to provide excellent service and care to people with disabilities and their families in our community. As a long-time resident of our community, Charlie, since 1978, held a number of posts and responsibilities. He served as president and secretary of the Greenvale Residents Association, where he spent over 20 years as an active member and an office holder.

Charlie and I first met when, as the newly elected member for Calwell, Charlie wrote to me demanding action on the long-promised state government plan to build a secondary school college in Greenvale. His energy and determination was aided by his very deep knowledge of how things worked, as he would always say to me, because, when it came to engaging local members of parliament, I was always put on notice that this was a man to be reckoned with. His energy was abounding and, when I was first invited to attend a Greenvale Residents Association meeting all those years ago to hear residents' demands for the school to be built, Charlie introduced me and began reading from my maiden speech, where I spoke of the transforming power of public schools. Charlie always did his homework. The decades-long community campaign for a secondary school in Greenvale, which Charlie was integral to, was finally given the go-ahead by the state government in 2020 and is due to open in 2022.

Charlie continued to advocate for the residents of Greenvale, always willing to take action when needed. He lobbied VicRoads for improvements to dangerous roads and intersections and the installation of traffic lights, and never gave up until the job was done. In addition, Charlie spent many years as president, treasurer and committee member of the Rotary Club of Broadmeadows. Charlie loved his community. He cared for it and he fought for it. I was saddened to hear of his illness and rapid decline. I'm saddened by his death. Charlie will be a great loss to our community. He belonged to a generation of Australians who gave their time willingly to the betterment of their community. His voluntary work was commendable— (Time expired)