This year will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most difficult and challenging for regional Victoria for generations, and even as we continue our slow emergence from the pandemic, the devastating impacts will reverberate through the community for many years to come.
The COVID-19 pandemic, or more precisely, our response to the threats posed by the invisible virus, has brought about the widespread destruction of our economy, and the lives of us all.
The deaths of a large number of Victorians, due to faults in the state government sanctioned hotel quarantine program deserves answers from the inquiry currently underway. More importantly, actions need to be taken and plans put in place to ensure such a series of catastrophic errors never happens again.
And to ensure everything is done, and every lesson learnt so that the restrictions Victorians have had to endure, and are still enduring, are never needed again.
Just as the virus is invisible and silent, so too is the mental health crisis that continues to unfold, especially in Victoria where restrictions have been harshest.
The fact we are all now paying such a terrible price for a bungled quarantine operation no doubt makes it even more difficult for many.
But our mental health crisis is also turbulent, it is real and it is anything but passive in the minds of people experiencing tough times.
There's no room for complacency in any of this, and sadly, while there's no vaccine and there's still a risk of further virus outbreaks, we need to be as vigilant and aware as ever.
But with eased restrictions once again in place, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that if we truly are all in this together, we will always need to work together to get to whatever the "COVID-normal" world turns out to be.