Jennifer Westacott, speech to Mogo community

15 February 2020


Jennifer Westacott, chief executive, Business Council of Australia


Mogo pop mall, Mogo 


11:30am, 15 February 2020

We accept with humility our welcome to country and we know your long and continuous custodianship of the land you own, and therefore the trauma of these fires to see your country destroyed and hurt in the way that it has been.

We can only imagine the trauma that you all feel.

And, so we're here today to try and be part of rebuilding that community. But of course, your attachment to the land is something that we can't imagine, but can only make sure that we do the practical things and then gradually we'll rebuild your country, so thank you Sherrie (Nye).

The Mogo Local Aboriginal Land Council burnt down as everyone knows and it will be one of the new homes that get built with the demountable buildings that are arriving today.

My name is Jennifer Westacott. I'm the chief executive of the Business Council of Australia and the BizRebuild project that's here today, the pop up mall, is part of what we're calling our BizRebuild project and I'm going to hand over in a minute to Sir Peter Cosgrove to talk about what we're doing.

But I do want to thank the community in the first instance because it's really your resilience and your toughness and your sense of getting back that allows us to then come in and say ‘, what are the practical things that we can do?’

Before I do that, I do want to acknowledge some people who are here and Sherrie’s done some of that, but I think it's important just to make sure that we do say thank you to the people who are here.

First of all, can I acknowledge Nancy Southern from ATCO. Nancy is the global head of ATCO and has made a special trip to be with us today to see these demountables come in and to see your community get rebuilt.

Richard Adams, who's been really a force for your community as you said, Sherrie, who's the president of the Mogo Village Business Chamber and he's been just a force on your behalf to say, ‘What's the thing that we need? We need our shops back up and running.’

Liz Innes, the Mayor of Eurobodalla Shire.  Liz, where are you? Not here? Where are you? Oh, there she is up in the back.

Andrew Constance. I do want to give a shout out to Andrew as well because it was Andrew who was I guess for many of us who are watching this from Sydney and other places, it was Andrew who was really giving a sense of just how serious this was for Australians.

It was Andrew's voice that became the voice of, ‘boy, this is very, very, very, very difficult on the ground’.

Tom Parojus, the managing director of ATCO in Australia, Pat Creaghan (Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer) who is here from ATCO.

Major General Andrew Hocking, who is the deputy coordinator of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency.

Peter Strong and Mark (McKenzie) who are the respective president and CEO of the Small Business Council of Australia (COSBOA).

And I want to thank all the local contractors and service providers who are here today and all the people who put in all the work to do the designs, et cetera, and the businesses who are going to be part of the village.

And. of course the members of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service and all the volunteers in the community who have been part of getting us to this point.

But today is really a beginning of the process. And to that end, let me hand over to Sir Peter Cosgrove, one of Australia's most iconic Australians who is leading our BizRebuild initiative to talk to you about what we're doing and of course to talk about his thanks to you as the community for getting this up and running.

So please welcome Sir Peter.


Latest news