Southern Star’s publisher, SSO Media has appointed its first Melbourne director.

New director Garry Oliver is the first SSO Media board member from Melbourne since SSO Media, which also publishes Sydney Star Observer, launch Southern Star last October.

Southern Star and Sydney Star Observer are owned by Gay and Lesbian Community Publishing Ltd which is a community-owned, incorporated company.

Oliver will join a 10-person board of directors which oversees management of the company.

Originally hailing from Victoria’s Shepparton region, Oliver describes himself as a -œpassionate Victorian,  and wants to see Southern Star strengthen its links with the grassroots GLBTI community in Melbourne.

-œI’ve always seen Southern Star as a very local paper, he said. -œI think there is a role for the paper to be a community resource where there’s benefits for the community in it being a great local source of information.

Oliver’s past involvement in the community was with HIV support networks where he was a volunteer during the late -˜80s, early -˜90s for over six years with East Support Group for people living with HIV.

Oliver works in the finance industry and is currently chairman of the Fitzroy and Carlton Community Credit Co-op in Brunswick St.

He said he would like to see a renewed focus on local groups in the paper and wants to see younger people take a greater interests in the community.

-œI grew up in an era where clubs and the gay community were just not around, he said.

-œNow there’s a smorgasbord of events and the days where we used to have to entertain ourselves are well and truly gone – it’s now been sourced to the venues and dance parties.

-œI’d like to see a greater involvement with younger people … I can understand where they are coming from, they can walk down the street and kiss and cuddle and hold hands, but there was no way I could have done that with my then partner.

The Carlton supporter is also a keen member of the gay-friendly bushwalking group, Nomads.

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