By Brendan Rees
As with many Pastors, Phil Cayzer is doing whatever he can to help people in need and 2017 was no exception.
The pastor at Turning Point church in Cranbourne East was instrumental with his wife Norma, also a pastor in opening Pixel Play Centre and Cafe in Cameron Street, Cranbourne last September.
They pair saw an opportunity to connect families as well as Work for the Dole participants in helping with the cafe’s construction.
“It’s not only a place for the parents but it’s training for future employees,” Pastor Cayzer said.
“We’ve had people come back to us and tell us as a result of working with us they’ve gone on to get full time employment.”
He said a number of employees were hired through the DVJS Employment Services program which helped place people with a disability into the general workforce.
“A number of them we have employed through the program now we’ve kept on as permanent employees because they’ve come so far,” the Star News 2017 Person of the Year explains.
“It really gets me excited to think that we’ve changed somebody’s life.
“One came back and said ‘I’ve just put a deposit on my house now.’ That really gets me excited to think that we’ve changed somebody’s life that’s now going to be different for a long time.”
By September, Pastor Cayzer recalled his wish coming true after campaigning for seven tireless years for VicRoads to reduce the speed limit outside the school gates of the Lighthouse Christian College in Cranbourne East.
But he says it came at a cost when a double fatality struck on the highway in August last year.
A mother and daughter were killed on the South Gippsland Highway at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 9 August as they were leaving parent-teacher interviews at the Cranbourne Lighthouse Christian College.
VicRoads decided to temporarily reduce the speed limit from 100km/h to 80km/h before it was permanently dropped to that limit last November.
“It’s a tragedy but that’s the only reason the speed limit has changed. It was City of Casey who jumped on our case as well and supported us,” said Pastor Cayzer who also worked with the Lighthouse Christian College community in successfully lobbying for the speed change.
“It is still a road, there are still ongoing safety issues but at least this has decreased the pressure, it’s been very good,” he said.
“No matter what speed restriction you have at the front, when you have a drunk un-licenced driver speeding down the road no sign is going to stop him.”
Pastor Cayzer said traffic had increased massively as housing developed in the nearby Mayfield estate and Junction Village.
“There’s so many cars entering the road. All of those have had numerous accidents over the years.”
“It just makes logical sense that it’s 80km/h,” he said. “It’s not only good for us – it’s good for the whole community.”