• A WA winery company have started to make hand sanitiser and provided 10 bottles to an Aboriginal community. (Facebook/ Harris River Estate)Source: Facebook/ Harris River Estate
The company is also looking into making a dispensary for an Aboriginal community located in the state’s south-west.
Rangi Hirini

4 Apr 2020 - 6:10 PM  UPDATED 4 Apr 2020 - 6:12 PM

A Western Australian winery company has temporarily moved from selling wine to providing hand sanitiser to its local community - including to those most in need, like Aboriginal Elders.

Located near Collie, roughly 200 kilometres south of Perth, Harris River Estate (HRE) is a winery, beer and cider micro-brewery, accommodation and function centre.

Like most businesses across Australia, the Estate has been impacted by the current coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in it hitting the 'pause' button on its wine and beverage sales.

On March 25 2020, HRE announced it would be closing the door to the public. Two days later, the company announced it would be making hand sanitiser, based on the formula by Didier Pittet - who is an expert in infectious disease control at the World Health Organisation. 

HRE prioritised the first batch to services in and around Collie. On Friday, the company supplied ten free 330ml bottles to the Roelands Village; a former Aboriginal Mission, now turned Aboriginal community.

HRE Owner Julie Hillier told NITV News the company has always worked closely with the local Aboriginal Elders and the Aboriginal community. 

"Even though we're not an Indigenous company ourselves, we consider ourselves allies and advocates and have been for many years," said Mrs Hillier.

"To be able to contribute a small way to the Roelands mob - it's who we are, and it's what our values are, and it's our normal relationship we have with them," she said. 

The company is also looking into supplying Roeland Village, with a hand dispensary device and five litres of sanitiser as a contact-less alternative.

Pop Les Wallam, Stolen Generation survivor and CEO of Roelands Village, told NITV News he reached out to Julie after seeing her Facebook post. 

"I sent a response, and like always Julie and her family were very happy to jump in and support us," Pop Les said. 

"[When] you go to the shops, we were just unable to get certain items, and sanitiser was one of them, so (the supply) is good," he said. 

Pop Les said despite the Roelands Community being under lockdown, the residents have been coping well. His advice to young people is to listen to your elders and the warning about COVID-19.

"Take heed of the warnings that are being put out there, stay at home, look after your family, practically your elders as well, and social distancing is very important, and they need to stay home," he said. 

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