Arfa Khan

10 Jun , 2021

James Norman

Arfa's vision for the region’s future is that it makes the most of its natural advantages.

Arfa Khan moved to the Latrobe Valley with her husband eight years ago after moving to Australia from Pakistan several years earlier. Arfa says when she first moved to the region, she wondered why she was there — but was soon won over.

“I soon realised it is one of the most beautiful areas of Victoria and Australia,” she says.

“The natural environment was the first thing that attracted me. When you just move in, you don’t know anyone. It was just my family, my children. Then you start exploring, and you start making friends, and then you see that this part has so much to offer, and we can offer this place a lot of things, too.”

Arfa says her vision for the region’s future is that it makes the most of its natural advantages.

Afra Khan (credit Esther Lloyd)

“The coastlines are beautiful here, just walking around the area, the mountains and scenery are breathtaking. Many of these beautiful walks on the coast and the high country can be used for tourism, rather than building mines or other developments that are not really necessary.”

As the transition away from mining and other traditional industries accelerates in the Latrobe Valley, Arfa says we need to focus on what will be best for our children.

“I realised that this is about our future. We need to start talking about it because there are many people out there who care — but they may not have even been asked.”

“Local people have seen the good and the bad aspects of developments that have taken place here. Now it is time to ask what do we want our culture to be? What sort of investors do we want to see invest here? Do we want to see a good future for our children?”

Arfa says she became involved in Communities Leading Change because she realised the older generation had made a lot of mistakes, and that it was now up to the community to develop a better plan for the future.

“I realised that this is about our future. We need to start talking about it because there are many people out there who care — but they may not have even been asked.”

“I think the small steps that we make are going to make a lot of difference also. We need to educate our children and the younger generation about where we’ve gone wrong in the past. We need to admit to it, learn from it, and start making the changes from there.”

Article by James Norman. First published in Gippslandia.