Letters to the Editor: September 17

Beach access for horse training must continue

ENOUGH dithering – let’s get on and solve the problem.

As a Warrnambool council election candidate, I have committed to ensuring designated horse training beaches as a first order priority.

Council is about finding solutions. It must adopt a can-do approach, look to the future, and unlock the potential.

Council candidates need to demonstrate their support for the local economy by joining me in pushing for this issue to be resolved immediately. Ongoing negative publicity is not what Warrnambool needs. This issue is in national papers.

We need to add certainty to the horse training industry, enhance and grow it. To do this, let’s designate the beaches in consultation and get the job done. 

It’s not about disputing interest; it’s about bringing all parties together to get the results and the designated areas.

Horses on designated beaches is not only about promoting a strong training industry, but promoting the profile as a tourist feature. We need to stretch the very successful May racing calendar dollar over the whole year. Imagine the economic and job benefit?

I love going to the races but don’t know a lot about it. What I do know is how to achieve good economic outcomes. I did not know and am very excited to find out we have our 2015 Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance on the beach six mornings a week. How fantastic is that. 

The horses on the beach could be as popular as watching the sunrise over Uluru. The horse industry and the tourism industry go hand in hand. Let’s put Warrnambool on a national map.

Putting industries and jobs at risk is completely unacceptable. These new industries provide our city with much-needed economic spin-offs and new employment. This entire industry is on the verge of booming – especially with high-profile horses and trainers choosing to make Warrnambool their preferred location.

There are several trainers expanding their local operations and should be 100 per cent supported. There are also interstate syndicates waiting to hear whether to invest in the Warrnambool horse training industry which includes beach use. 

Long-term activities that use the dunes, which I also support, have not received the same ban. Why single out the race horses?

I am committed, if elected, to giving this emerging industry all the support I can for it to co-exist peacefully with existing beach users. I am confident that a huge proportion of the Warrnambool population would be supportive of this emerging industry.   

Tony Herbert, Warrnambool

Open conversations on the big issues are vital

I READ with dismay Siobhan Simper's response (The Standard, September 10) to my online letter, and I reply here. Surprisingly, I have been called an “anti-gay campaigner” and claims of hatred and fear have been made. 

I do not know Siobhan and she clearly does not know me. I ask readers to consider my whole history of letters to The Standard, which include fair trade with China, freedom of conscience, access to national parks and local council issues. None of my views are hateful or fearful of those I disagree with.

Second, I am a proud member of the DLP because the DLP is the party with answers. It has a religious history without foisting religion on anyone and it embodies the true spirit of the labour movement.

The two major parties have lost their way, mostly looking to economics as the answer, while the Greens have a utopian vision based on central state control which will cause immense grief and harm if seriously tried. The DLP offers social justice and strong values in the best possible way.

Siobhan also asks why I don't condemn divorcees. I condemn no-one – though I grieve brokenness. I don't write letters about it, but I quietly walk the path with people after a relationship breakdown. As to why I comment at all, this issue is about the common good and not just the rights of a few. It typifies the struggle between individual rights and the collective good of individuals.

Arguing purely from rights means anything becomes possible. We must look at results as well as rights, and this is why we need discussion.

Finally, I concede that I do have spiritual beliefs. I think we are more than a group of atoms, sex is more than just an act of pleasure and we each have incredible personal importance. Can't I say so?

These views relate to social institutions like marriage. We need to talk about them, and a plebiscite or referendum will help us do that.

Christian Schultink, Warrnambool

Speed up passenger rail in the south-west

I UNDERSTAND why the train stops at every station before Geelong.

But why does our three-and-a-half-hour travel time have to stop at so many stations from Geelong to Warrnambool, when Geelong has express trains to Melbourne? 

Surely our train deserves a little extra arrival time. We, unlike other country lines, are still sitting in old, worn-out carriages.

Geoff Williams, Warrnambool

Consideration must be given to preferences

WELL here we are all now facing yet another change to Warrnambool City Council. It will be surprising indeed to see how the new rules on preferences will spread the votes.  

No preferences are being sent out with the papers. Instead, you should receive them in the post before the election and directly from the candidate.  

I will be posting my preferences on my Facebook page at the same time as posting it out to voters and delivering personal how-to-vote cards. I counted about $1500 to post out the preferences to every voter.

Now we have the capability in our hands to make a change, we should use it and vote to create a change for the better. 

Ask yourself as you sit down to your morning coffee and pull out your pen and ballot paper: "Have I been given what was promised last time around?"

It’s hard, but please try not to go one to 22 and from top to bottom. I will have walked several hundred kilometres to get a vote, as I am sure others have done, and I hope you think more of us than that.

Seek out the name of your candidates and do not miss out anyone. If you do, your paper will be spoiled.

Every candidate is there trying to help you, so see what they have to offer before you commit for another four years. It’s a long time coming around and a lot more water under the bridge for our town.

I love Warrnambool and I love how Warrnambool has warmed to me and my Scottish ways. I love our people and the smiles we exchange as we pass each other on the street. I love watching our sleepy headed, carefree youth getting on the train in the morning with their pillows and doonas.  

You would have to go a long way to beat Warrnambool and I am happy to be part of who we all are collectively. I am super proud to be here for many of you, as you have been here for me.

I am sure you will all pick to the best of your ability. If you have problems, go with your gut.  

David MacPhail, Warrnambool


IN THE lead-up to the council election, I want to highlight the sad situation of the many people who are missing out on the valuable gift of life due to inadequate numbers of organs being made available for organ transplantation in our country. 

Organ transplantation is a unique process whereby a patient can only become the recipient of a transplant because another person has donated their organs, either while living or after dying. The dramatic clinical benefits of organ transplantation are sadly, however, not available to all those people who need and would benefit from transplantation. 

In 2015, 435 organ donors gave 1241 Australians a new chance in life. There are, however, more than 1500 people at any one time on the Australian waiting list, hoping for an organ to become available for transplantation.

Australia has struggled for more than 20 years to bring the rate of organ donation to the level that other countries such as Spain, Belgium, France and the USA have achieved. Our donation rate currently sits at approximately 16 to 17 donors per million population, which places us outside of the top 20 in the world.

There have been many reasons for Australia’s lower organ transplant rate, many of which have been addressed at a clinical and hospital level. 

The two main reasons that are still an impediment to helping the many hundreds of Australian people waiting on the organ transplant list are the low levels of people choosing to register their wishes to donate organs or body tissue on the Australian Organ Donor Register. Also families still have the final say in overturning the final wishes of their loved one's choice to give the gift of life to another child or adult.

For many people, the decision to do so is often not on our radar due to the busy life we lead. If you believe that you or your family members would accept an organ donation, please consider sharing that same gift with someone else and register your consent at www2.medicareaustralia.gov.au/pext/registerAodr/Pages/DonorRegistration.jsp

Discussing our wishes with our family is also vital so we can reduce the number of organs being wasted through a family's decision to override their loved ones decision to donate.

Dr Michael McCluskey, Warrnambool

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