The Standard's weekly letters to the editor

Women’s sports soar

It’s an exciting time for women’s sport in Victoria. This year has brought so many incredible wins, including watching the Matildas dominate on the world stage, the first ever AFLW competition kick off and of course the skyrocketing demand for grassroots women’s sport leagues.

VicHealth is proud to build on this momentum with our new Active Women and Girls program announced recently. Our largest ever investment in women’s sport will provide $6.7 million in funding to further raise the profile of women’s sport and get more Victorian women and girls healthy and active.

From netball and cricket, to frisbee and lawn bowls – there will be a range of new sports programs local women can try out. It doesn’t matter how fit you are or how sweaty you get – the important thing is getting out there and giving it a go. That’s the message we want to send to Victorian women through our upcoming This Girl Can campaign, which will showcase real women, doing their thing and giving it a go. 

We know that women too often feel like they aren’t fit enough, strong enough, fast enough or wearing the right clothes to be physically active – I certainly feel this way at times. That’s why it is so important to have a range of sports on board to help women overcome the barriers that stop them getting active.

I encourage all women and girls who’d like to try out one of our new sports programs to register their interest at www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/activewomen. You don’t need to have played sport before to give it a go! 

We want to see women and girls smashing the stereotypes about what they can and can’t do by getting out there and playing the sports they love! 

Jerril Rechter CEO, VicHealth Carlton 

Marine park changes

The Turnbull Government intends to push ahead with comprehensive legislation to wind back the size of and protection status of Australia’s marine parks. Under the changes, commercial fishing areas would be expanded from 64 per cent to 80 per cent. Of course it is important to balance conservation with sustainable economic use of our oceans. Yet the government’s new draft plan leaves a huge majority of Australia’s waters open to business as usual.   

"This is a much more balanced, scientific approach than those previously undertaken for marine parks," the minister Mr Frydenberg said. "These plans protect what needs to be protected without negatively impacting communities and our country's economy." 

What the minister doesn’t say is that this pandering to the fisheries and extractive industries will generate less than 1% of the income generated by recreational pursuits such as recreational fishing, diving, boating, etc.  In this region we have witnessed a massive increase in tourism over the past decade most of which stems from the protection of relatively small reserves put into place by government.

A report by Ernst and Young commissioned by the Recreational Fishing Licence trust fund revealed   recreational fishing alone in Victoria generated:

• $7.1 billion combined direct and indirect output, including $2.6 billion direct output.

• $3.9 billion combined direct and indirect value added.

• 33,967 combined direct and indirect full-time equivalent jobs, including 16,257 direct jobs.

Compare this to a mere billion or so generated by large scale multinational commercial operators largely paying no taxes here and employing few if any Australian’s, this doesn’t add up. I have personally observed the increase in fish stocks in this region, the bait fish have returned and in turn the stocks of larger fish such as tuna have recovered.  Small commercial operators and recreational fishermen have seen an increase in catch and thousands of people each year frequent south-west Victoria to enjoy our natural resources.

Let us be very clear this proposed legislation has a darker side as it includes opening up marine parks for oil and gas extraction, imagine what this will do to the Barrier Reef, a marine park already under extreme stress from over population, bleaching and pollution.  We shouldn’t be surprised by this legislation from the Coalition in 2013 Tony Abbott, famously declared at a fishing Expo on the Gold Coast that he won’t allow the oceans to be locked up and more recently expressed similar views at a world climate change sceptic forum.  The Turnbell Government has openly criticised Victoria’s ban on controversial extraction of gas and oil from prime farming land to the detriment of rural Victorians, this proposed legislation doesn’t come as a surprise.

What have our local politicians to say on the issue? We cannot stand by and allow this legislation to slip through parliament unopposed.

Rob Graham, Terang

Peace plea

It is 31 years since the United Nations designated, 1986, the International Year of Peace.

Portland People for Nuclear Disarmament group received $2000 federal government funding to promote peace and nuclear disarmament in that year.

Now, out of a total grant of $7.5 million dollars, the federal government is offering grants of  between $3000 and $50,000 to local organizations in Wannon to mark the 100 years since World War 1. 

Is this latest hand-out of taxpayers money to make sure; lest we forget?

How can we not forget war when it is on our television screens every day and night? World government forces and private military forces are awash with money for weapons of mass destruction. They are funded by us civilians, through taxes and unethical share investments. 

Many rich people profit from wars. People need to wake up to this fact.

Now, let’s talk about peace. I propose that our Member for Wannon Dan Tehan, works toward a world future without war veterans. He might work himself out his current job, but it would be a good outcome for humanity.

I suggest that the Minister for Veteran Affairs contacts: WorldBeyondWar.org to organize community film nights throughout Wannon on November 11 (Armistice Day). The suggested film is called Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives: The environmental Footprint of War, made by documentary film makers Alice and Lincoln Day.

Toward a peaceful future,

Julie Hart, Heywood

I refer to previous articles in The Standard where Rodgers Constructions offered to redesign and construct the entrance, at no cost to the public purse, if they could refill and rehabilitate an old quarry that they own which uses the same entrance.

What happened?

Graham Wilson, Port Fairy