Former student honoured by Governor of Victoria

PTA Alumni student Melissa Ferguson was honoured at Government House by the Governor of Victoria her excellency The Honourable Linda Dessau on Sunday the 9th of September 2018 with a Dame Elizabeth Murdoch Award nomination and listed as one of the significant impacts in the Impact category for her work with Gippsland farmers.

Melissa the Chief Executive Officer of Gippsland Farmers Relief founded the organisation two years ago and since then has assisted hundreds of farms in need support those that have suffered through milk price cuts and those who are suffering because of the current drought.

Melissa studied the Diploma of Community Services and the Diploma of Counselling with Partners in Training three years ago which prompted her to work in the community services industry.

Melissa has now established an office in Traralgon however her service and dedicated group of volunteers reach out to all Gippsland farmers from Phillip Island to the Victorian boarder at Mallacoota providing support, counselling, food, general assistance where needed or just a shoulder to cry on!.

Melissa said, “We can sometimes just be there to listen and let people have a good cry or be delivering food parcels to farmers who can no longer afford to eat.” She said that she had strong feeling regarding the shock milk price drop affecting farmers across Gippsland and when there were several suicides and a number of attempted suicides she knew she need to act.

Together with her passion, commitment and training she received from Partners in Training she knew she had the abilities to do something about these horrific problems and set about making change, helping farmers and making the public, local government, state government and federal government aware of the seriousness of milk pricing and drought-stricken Gippsland.

Melissa and Dr Jamie Hogan had time with the Governor discussing the issues affecting farmer’s in Gippsland. The Governor was most interested as she had toured and observed for herself the drought areas in Gippsland and has major concerns.