To my family and your family, I say thank you

All of us know the pressures from builders and developers to meet unrealistic deadlines.

The long hours, sore bodies and frazzled minds that many of us experience can also affect our relationships with those we love the most, our families.

It can be a tough life for people building our country’s cities and hospitals, our roads and our schools.

I’d like to pay homage to our delegates, safety reps and officials, and most importantly, their families. For those brave enough to put their hands up to represent their fellow workers in an industry like ours takes a very special person.

There are very few days when you don’t have to go toe to toe with a boss to argue for a safer method of work or just to get a Member paid properly. Whether it’s a clothing issue, sham contracting or a safety breach, there are not many days we finish feeling mellow and relaxed.

Our families are what binds us together and they also feel the burden of our industry. To rub salt in the wounds, while we continue building our great state of Victoria and the World’s most liveable city, we have the Liberal Government and their business mates throwing shit at every turn.

Every time we pick up a paper or turn on the TV we are painted as criminals through mistruths and blatant lies. The reality is, we are saving lives out there and if that comes at a cost, so be it.

The year 2016 has been exceptionally hard one for my family. To my wife, my son, my daughter and to my mother and father, I say thank you. To endure phone taps of our personal conversations and have our house and travel monitored because of some bullshit political campaign is beyond the pale.

Having to answer questions while shopping about blatant lies printed in the Herald Sun shouldn’t be part of your lives, but it is. Again, I say thank you.

We do this job for a reason. We do it to make construction a better, safer, more civilised industry. We do it so that future generations can benefit from it, not be buried by it.

To everyone: have a safe break. Love and protect your family and we will see you in 2017 to do it all again. Because we can’t and won’t do anything else.

Dare to struggle, dare to win!