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A Tom Foolery Fairy Tale or actually the lessons we had to learn from COVID 19 – A way forward to a sustainable region.

Our South West Australia
Dear all,
I’m sure you’ve all seen it by now – the rather profound Tom Foolery Facebook video – The Great Realisation. Despite the devastation this virus is causing, there are some clear lessons being learned by us all, and there is hope for the post COVID era, provided we all have the inclination to pay attention.
In the past 3 months, we have all seen what a world without pollution and fossil fuels could look like- clear skies, clear lakes, wildlife flourishing.  It’s taken human containment / lock downs for everybody to so clearly see what we were doing to our planet and how quickly some changes can have a huge impact. Watching the oil price plummet to negative given the lack of demand, we now see how important renewables will be for our sustainable future world  as the sun shines and the wind blows freely on Australian soil and requires no dependence for supply.
We all now see how fragile our Australian economy is as we have sold out to China and the like with 37% of our GDP dependent just on China alone.  For example we import  – 95% of our fuel from the US and Middles East,  all essential chemicals for water sanitation (that was mind blowing to realise), all the components essential for our communications network, 99% of essential medicines and the list goes on and on. Australia is a real sitting duck from an essential supply point of view and its not a good look in our current situation.
It is the world WE ALL created and so WE ARE all to blame, not our governments. WE ALL fueled the demand for cheaper, quicker, faster so now WE ALL must accept responsibility. We drove out manufacturing and other industry because of OUR global consumer choices for a product that could only be made by people working for below minimum wage in substandard conditions- for the sake of a T-shirt that costs a $1.
Now perhaps we will understand how important it is to strengthen Australia’s internal industries- particularly manufacturing. When 97% of PPE comes from China doesn’t that just make you gobsmacked. How fragile we become  in a pandemic because of our country’s dependence. The WA Health Minister announced on the 2nd May 2020 that a new collaborative initiative was now manufacturing PPE in Malaga. How Fantastic is that! Now we are talking. What else can we manufacture or produce in WA? Seems a tad ridiculous to have two large Lithium mines on our doorstep, only to be forced to buy the lithium battery from another country.  Australian made options typically sell for a higher price. I’m sure there are levels of complexities to these statements which I don’t do justice, but it does make a point of how often we sell out as a country.
It’s time we again produce our own products to sustain our own country. This is not a nationalistic, racist, Trumponian or discriminatory statement, but just plain common sense. We simply can do better as a country. In the South West Region alone, we have a myriad of local wineries, farms, fresh food producers, artists, services and mineral resources at our finger tips. Its time to put our focus upon these businesses standing right next to us, as they are the key to a sustainable future, one that is not reliant on a long imported supply chain.  We can create this new LOCAL demand with our NEW choices. Remember the Buy Australian campaign, the campaign we forgot whilst we were drooling over the new tech product made overseas.
A simple and easy example, buy beautiful Icon Honey from Miles, as advertised on the Our South West market, versus the supermarket mass produced options. Buy your veggie and fruit boxes through the likes of  The Shed markets, BGs Farmstand and the many other directly sourced local options on a community online market. We are aiming for the ability to purchase most of your supermarket options locally and have them delivered to your door.
Tourists and visitors come here for exactly that reason, to purchase farm or producer direct and have that “Village Experience”. Its that  yearning for meaningful connection to the product and a knowledge of the business and the person that made it. As far as marketing goes, that is priceless and something Coles, Woolworths and Amazon never achieved and never could. Its a new mindset for this region, but a worthwhile one. What else can we manufacture or produce in WA.
“Our South West Community E-commerce” is a project that is a supercharged “regional economy” revival campaign. Time to get back on track starting right now! Hope you can all join this new mindset to create sustainability in our region. We can create a Community Ecommerce market and the delivery network which gives you the same options as the large supermarket chains. But you will have the satisfaction of knowing your local producer is directly benefiting from your purchase not a group of shareholders.
Let’s not make the same mistakes again of looking outward and thinking cheaper, faster and global is better. When you add up the cost to the planet ( product life-cycle analysis) of importing all our needs and the cost to local  and regional business by ignoring their direct and sustainable worth, the realisation is that Covid 19 is teaching us some solid life lessons right now.
“Our South West” is a social enterprise and currently offers a free online e-commerce platform and free marketing solution for South West Business and Services.
So let’s start again, let’s look inward, change our mindset, create better habits and rebuild and support what is already around us.
Seems like common sense to me!
Cheaper and faster is not better these days, in fact its a dangerous road with a dead end. 
Looking forward to seeing you all soon, either as a new Vendor or a local customer.
Kind Regards
Emma Morgan
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LAUNCHING – Our South West Market is LIVE!

Our South West Australia

Hi Everybody!

Our South West is now launching a free e-commerce platform called the “Our South West Market” in conjunction with the Free Business Directory and Community blogs.

There are NO SET UP FEES and NO COMMISSION charges. To Join, simply add your business or service to the directory and tick the Vendor box at the bottom of the form.

www.oursouthwest.com.au

For those businesses who are new to this concept, an e-commerce platform creates an “online shop” for you to sell your products, services, and appointments to your customers via a website. Instead of every individual business having to create this on their own website, we have designed a “market” where all the businesses & services are advertised in one central place.

Customers can browse various products and businesses in the one convenient and central location which increases value for your business marketing, visibility and likelihood of a sale. By using the Our South West market, you will mitigate the cost and the time of building and running this yourself.

What we are creating is like a micro version of Amazon for businesses in the South West Region to boost their visibility and profitability in this difficult economic period. We believe that the Our South West Market will be an enormous benefit right now but will also continue to ADD value beyond the Covid 19 era and will offer everybody an extra pathway to customers in the future. Every bit helps!

We are asking vendors to offer free local delivery to postcodes close to your business given that we are offering this service to you for free. As Our South West is a “social enterprise” where profits are given back to South West community programs, we ask vendors also show the same community spirit when they join.

Kind Regards

Emma Morgan & Justin Liu

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Our South West Market – Now a Free e-commerce platform for Businesses and Services in the South West – By Emma Morgan

Our South West Australia
Dear Our South West Community,
Justin Liu and I have been working hard to create a Free online market (e-commerce platform) for South West businesses, that will now sit alongside the Free Community Business Directory on the website. The Our South West Market will be completely free of charge to use whilst we are all suffering through the COVID 19 crisis. Given that some shops can no longer open or operate, this is a creative and flexible way to sell your products to the community despite lock down restrictions. The Free online Market will be open to Businesses within the South West region – and that’s a pretty big area so get on board everybody.
www.oursouthwest.com.au
The  Our South West website will now have three components :
Our South West Community –  Our Home page will have regular blogs and posts on every topic we can write about to help assist people in the Covid 19 era. Blogs relate to  mental health, financial support & advice, fitness and health,  updates from businesses, Government organisations /assistance  and Live news streams etc to keep people informed. All blogs and posts for the Community section will also be posted to the Our South West Facebook Group which is now up and running and open to the public.
Our South West Market – this is the new FREE e-commerce platform and will enable businesses to sell their products through a single market place online, via the Our South West Website. This will have a big impact for those businesses who do not have this available already and will mitigate the cost of each business having to set this up themselves. We hope to increase  South West business visibility and profitability throughout this crisis period and help businesses continue to remain open and viable. If you already have your own e-commerce, you can still use this services. Products you list  with us will link to your own website effectively.
Businesses or services can have around 12 or so products advertised to sell at any time, on an ongoing basis and will be able to update and change products etc as they please via their login facility. Each product is sold via the Our South West Market and each business or service needs to arrange for their own prompt delivery of the products sold. Products for sale could include the following – Fresh food products, frozen meals, different types of Fruit and Vege grocery boxes, freshly made takeaway meals, clothing products, Wine products, gift items, Handmade items, Local club memberships, Fitness Memberships, gift vouchers. The list is endless. Its a great option for Market stalls who can no longer run at this point in time.
Our South West Market will also have a facility for professional services and trades to receive booking times or appointments for their services. For example professions such as Nutritionist, Psychologist, Physiotherapist, Personal trainer can make individual client bookings or zoom appointments. Trade services such as Lawn mowing / gardening services, Automotive services, Plumbers, Electricians etc can make home visit appointments.
Our South West Directory – this is a comprehensive list of every south west businesses currently operating in the COVID 19 era; detailing who delivers or offers online or takeaway services. We have 170 services currently listed and the directory is increasing every day. You can search for different types of services under search items and also for who offers delivery or takeaway. We hope that this will be an easier solution to find the right service, versus the many Facebook pages currently listing businesses on various sites. Everything will be in the one place and easily found through search facilities. Facebook pages, groups and Instagram posts however are still a great tool to show your products visually and highlight specials and we will link the Market and Directory to a new Our South West Market Facebook Group.
So How do you Join the Market ?

We will be launching the Our South West Market next week and will be emailing those that are currently on our Community Directory and giving them instructions how to login, create their Shop and add products to sell. So In order to participate in the Free online Market please do the following:

  1. Join the Free Community Our South West Directory by “adding your business” and creating your login. Then tick the Vendor Box at the bottom of the directory form.
  2. We will then start on boarding Vendors when the Market is live
  3.  You can then Create your  “Shop” and add your products to the online Market.
  4. Then Get selling! We will also help you advertise your specials through the Our South West Market FB group.

We are looking forward to creating this exciting venture with all of you very soon. Thank you for your support and encouragement and remember – We are all in it together. So lets all help each other through this. I cant tell you how much fun I’ve had creating this venture and talking with everybody. Isn’t it odd to experience  that joy  when you work for free and give of yourself without expectation. Meaning and happiness always seem to follow. Something I wont forget and perhaps a huge learning for all of us in 2020. Its the “happiness of pursuit” versus the pursuit of happiness which will stand out as the major lesson of 2020.

Given that this is a free website and a free online market that has been created from two peoples spare time, if you are interested in sponsoring the venture in any way , please give me a call on 0400 351 508. Every bit helps.  Id like to thank the City of Busselton for their assistance in helping us with $1000, to purchase software needed to create the Directory and online Market. It was a great help to get Justin started on the necessities, considering I had become unemployed and would have struggled to pay for upfront costs such as this. It really showed us that our Council really care about the businesses in our region and keeping them viable. I’m sure it will be appreciated by many people in the near future.

Kind Regards

Emma Morgan

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Welcome to Our South West – a new FREE community website to help us through this difficult time

Our South West Australia

Hi Everybody,

Welcome to Our South West, the new free website for all businesses and services currently operating in the South West in these difficult times. I really hope that you are all keeping safe, helping to flatten the curve and doing all you can to stop the spread and help our health workers get ready for the inevitable increase in cases. None of us have been in a situation like this before and this is new to all of us. I know a lot of you have suddenly lost your jobs and you’re worried for yourself and your families. We are all in the same boat as a community, and I really hope Our South West can help you all in the coming months.

Justin Liu  (0ad – ecommerce and web developer) and Emma Morgan (Immerse South West & ED/Mental health Senior Social Worker)  are quickly creating a community website for businesses, sole traders and community members within the City of Busselton region to be able to easily advertise their new services in this difficult Covid 19 era. We hope to accommodate other councils quickly as well so please put your details on the system sooner rather than later.
We are encouraging people to get creative, think outside the box and find new ways to continue their business or service online and share with people how they can deliver safe services. The website will act as a Services directory for the entire community and it will be free to advertise your business on the website and free for people in the community to use.
The aim of  Our South West is for people in the community to have a central website to go to and find delivery and online services in their region to enable them to more effectively home isolate, receive essential services and stay safe in this precarious time. The website will have weekly blogs and advice for everybody from trained and qualified professionals  such as Clinical psychologists, nutritionists, dietitians, allied health professionals, chief financial officers, education experts, personal trainers etc on all topics to keep everybody  informed, stay healthy, be educated and stay mentally well.
What we do right now could make the difference for our entire community and can save lives. Yes its that serious and the time of denial has passed us by as the numbers of infected start to climb in Australia. Regardless of the seriousness of our situation, there is no need to panic, no need to hoard, no need to act individualistically and no need to feel alone. Instead we need to work together as a community to come up with workable solutions. I’m sure we all want to get back to normal soon, but that requires all of us to do our part for that to happen. We all need to step up!
So please be creative, consider what you can offer the community during the next couple of months and lets show Australia that the people who live in the South West know how to do this the right way and come out the other side with our families, friends, businesses and economy as intact as possible.
Please stay tuned for more posts and helpful advice from a variety of contributors in the next week.
Wishing you all good health and compassion
Emma Morgan and Justin Liu
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A big Thank you to the community, our blog contributors and Justin Liu for his hard work!

Our South West Australia

Holy Moly what a week and I say that on so many levels. The image of a wave certainly represents how this virus pandemic has felt, an unstoppable force. Things are changing rapidly day by day now for us all and lets see what tomorrow will bring. With every change and every new measure implemented, we hope to provide a level of support and reassurance through this website to the community.

From a good idea on Monday  23rd March to making it reality by Friday 27th March and a lot of hours staring at a computer screen in between.  A big shout out to Justin Liu for his hard work pulling this website together so fast with me. Anybody who knows me is well aware I can create, write, talk a lot, think fast, connect people and pull it all together…..but build a website is something I cannot do without the backing of an expert. We are all juggling our priorities right now, but this just seemed to be one of those things that needed to happen for this community, so I’m ever so grateful to Justin and Claire for jumping on board with me. They are true kind-hearted souls.

Firstly I’d like to thank the businesses of the South West for putting your faith in Justin and I. We are most likely unknown to most of you, but we really do appreciate you getting on board so fast and telling others about it.

A big thank you to Naomi Searle from the City of Busselton for her immediate support of this idea and helping us to get the word out to Rate Payers and in particular our vulnerable community members.

Tim Campbell Photography has kindly loaned us some terrific images to brighten up the website in the coming weeks and Tim did not hesitate to lend a hand. He’s a Champ.

A shout out to DYCCI and our local newspapers, the BD Times and BD Mail for helping to advertise the new website to the community.

I would also like to thank and mention a few others too who will also be helping us along the way in the coming weeks with their expert knowledge and advice:

Our South West Blog content contributors :

  • Melissa and Justin Harrison  – The Nudge Group (Clinical Psychology)
  • South West Home Education Association
  • Libby Mettam – MLA  – Member for Vasse
  • Trevor Lawrence Brown  – Down South Physio and sports rehab
  • Cal and Shelby Foster – The movement Fitness and Wellbeing
  • Claire McDonnell Liu – Nutritionist
  • Simona Hughes – Chief Financial Officer Financial Utilities
  • Nat Darwell – Yoga South West
  • City of Busselton – community updates
  • Victoria Verity – Photographer, Teacher, Artist

If you are a trained professional in one of our listed categories and would like to contribute your expert advice to the blog content for Our South West, please contact me on 0400 351 508. Your contribution is welcomed. I’m keen to hear from one of our local GPs, from one of our prominent restaurants, teachers and online educators.  If that sounds like you, i’ll be waiting for your call…..at my home….like always…..not going anywhere…..be nice to chat!

Regards

Emma Morgan