Condolences: Ross Powell and Andrew Powell
30 April 2019 : Mr Walsh
I join the condolence for the tragic death of father and son Ross and Andrew Powell of Port Campbell. Easter was going to be a celebration time for the Powell family. They were gathering together because there was a succession in the farm. Ross and Val were going to move into a new house in town and Andrew and Amber were going to move onto the farm-a lifetime passion of Andrew’s from when he could first walk following his father around the farm. He was absolutely committed to the dairy industry and wanted to be part of it into the future. That is one of the tragedies of what we are talking about today that he will not be able to do that. At approximately 10.40 on Easter Sunday morning a young tourist was swept out into the Southern Ocean while wading at the entrance of the Sherbrook River. As the Leader of the Opposition said that is an area that people have concerns about because as I understand it it drops away very quickly and if people do not know what they are doing they can be very easily caught out by the tide there. Three lifesavers were dispatched from the Port Campbell Surf Life Saving Club in their inflatable boat to make that rescue. As we know tragically the boat tipped over in the 2-metre swell and the rescuers were dumped into the water. A helicopter was called in and was able to winch one of the lifesavers and the tourist to safety but tragically Ross and Andrew lost their lives in that particular accident. Phillip Younis the lifesaver rescued by the helicopter has serious injuries but my understanding is that he will fully recover. We wish him well with that journey and his recovery into the future. As the Leader of the Opposition said the emotional scars will be there a lot longer than the physical scars around that particular issue because they were a very close unit at the lifesaving club there and as we all know with country communities a very close community. The tourist who was rescued suffered hypothermia and was taken by road ambulance to the Warrnambool hospital. He has subsequently recovered and returned home. If you think about country communities and you think about the saying that ‘If you want something done you ask a busy person to do it’ you can look at Ross and Andrew’s lives and the things that they were involved in in Port Campbell. As we have said Ross was a foundation member of the surf club. Many years ago they were both involved in the SES. They were both involved in the CFA and as I understand it Philip was actually the captain of the CFA there as well. Ross and Andrew both made great contributions to the dairy industry including what Andrew was doing with Timboon P-12 School passing on his knowledge of and his passion for the dairy industry. They will both be severely missed in that community in the future. We offer not only the families but the whole community our condolences and best wishes for the future because when these things happen in a country community it affects the whole community particularly when those people were so well embedded into the community and involved in it. Tragically we have volunteers right across Victoria that do put their lives on the line literally to save people. In this case it did go very very wrong. We do have utmost sympathy for those families and what they will go through into the future particularly Amber with an unborn child. The future in front of them moving to the dairy farm and living the dream that they had for the future-that has all been shattered and we just wish them well for the future.