Letters to the editor - July 28

Roads our premier issue

Our Premier’s rushed visit to our region deserves some comment.

Firstly, I must applaud The Standard in their attempt to engage the Premier of the state.

Surely his minders after nearly three years in the job, can come up with something more substantial than throwing a heap of money at a railway line to cut just 20 minutes off the travel time.

I am sure the footy oval needs funds, I can think of hundreds of projects in the same position.

Firstly, the rail, Warrnambool to Melbourne, journey time is 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Spend over $100 million on the track and it will reduce this by 20 minutes. It is laughable.

The roads in our region are atrocious, there many reasons, but most of the blame in my opinion lies at the feet of this government and past governments. 

Blue gums and wind farms have really both achieved about the same for small communities, basically destroyed them, and their road networks.

The running joke about one of the villages blue gums decimated is “if you break a window, it is cheaper to move into the house next door”.

The funding this government is proposing for roads is a pittance.

If the government policy is to build more wind farms, it either needs to find the funding to completely rebuild the roads after the devastation that occurs on a massive scale or get the developer to pay for it. 

I am not sure how you compensate the poor souls that attempt to use these public roads whilst all this mayhem is taking place for years.

We are all familiar with what happens to the roads when a wind farm is built. They turn into a gravel road, become impassable and unusable.

Initially blue gums were planted with Portland as the load point for the chips. Much of this goes to Geelong to be shipped. 

Someone needs to step up and take responsibility the destruction these trucks are doing to the roads and take ownership on bringing them back to even a third world standard would be a starting point. 

When was the last time I saw a truck being weighed by authorities on the road in South West Victoria, cannot recall one.

Premier, a word of advice, if you don’t know what the problems are in an area, how can you fix them. Flying into a city for a few hours once in three years really doesn’t cut the mustard.

Roads are just one of many issues, hopefully you will follow the trend and be a one-term wonder.

Greg Ettridge, Penshurst

Yes to boardwalk idea 

I would like to comment on Cr Peter Hulin's idea (The Standard, July 26) of a boardwalk from Thunder Point to the Shelly Beach area, and to congratulate him on presenting this idea to the Warrnambool City Council, as a very worthy suggestion to enhance the forgotten area of our beautiful coastal scenery.

Many years ago there was a road access to Shelly Beach which was used quite often, particularly during the summer months. One or two councillors at that time saw the potential of building a good walking track, or even a made road to Shelly Beach. This idea did not get the green light, mainly because of the Warrnambool Rifle Range being used each weekend. This was of course a very valid reason not to go ahead with the idea.

If I remember correctly one of the councillors who supported this idea, was Cr. Fred Reid, later a Mayor of this City, and also having Reid Oval named in his honour.

The Warrnambool Rifle Club used the rifle range each Saturday, and had done so over a long period. Competitions were held here between various rifle clubs.

Another big point in not opening up this area with a made road was the sewerage outlet, so the matter was dropped.

Cr Hulin's idea of a walking track along this stretch of coastline has a lot of merit, and is worthy of consideration.

Andrew Coffey, Warrnambool

Opposition to marriage equality

I offer the following in response to your editorial of July 7, ‘It’s right to fly the flag for marriage equality’.

Leadership entails leading by informed decision-making in areas pertinent to one’s charter; not being led into unwarranted territory for want of such. Good leaders also consult widely on issues which divide communities before taking a stance on behalf of all. Such leadership was not evident in the Warrnambool Council’s recent decision to support same-sex marriage.

The demand for marriage equality assumes a current inequality; yet amendments to various laws over recent years make it difficult to see what same-sex couples are missing out on apart from marital status. Nor is there unlawful discrimination in denying status to somebody who does not meet the criteria. It’s time to acknowledge what really is being sought - a fundamental change to the legal definition of marriage.

Same-sex marriage advocates argue that all persons are entitled to have their love for their partner celebrated by a marriage ceremony. But societies have always placed boundaries around marriage for several reasons - not least that any children issuing from the union generally do best with their mum and dad committed to each other for life. As Irish commentator Keith Mills, who advocates civil partnerships for same-sex couples, says, “the state, its agencies and others charged with the welfare of children, should be able to favor a family unit that provides a mother and father”.

Children through no fault of their own, nor necessarily that of a parent, may be brought up by a single mum or dad. And no one is arguing that such parents are not hardworking or not doing their best for their children; nor that the children are not loved and cared for; nor yet that same-sex parenting cannot be loving.  But, contrary to the claims of the American Psychological Association, the overwhelming evidence shows that children brought up by married heterosexual couples do better in life on a range of key societal outcomes than those brought up by same-sex couples.

And, by the way, the claim that, by arguing “same-sex marriage goes against the Bible is to force one set of religious beliefs on all – like Sharia,” is shallow, showing no awareness that it is comparing the ethical foundation of Western Civilization—unequalled for its balance of social order and personal freedom, with that of Islamic Civilization—which is totalitarian.

And, of course, Christians don’t have a monopoly on marriage, but Western society has benefitted greatly from marriage and other institutions that have endured for centuries having their ethical roots in the Judeo-Christian Bible. To reject that is to undermine an essential foundation of our great civilization.

Alec Witham, Warrnambool

Thanks for genorosity

I am writing to express my sincere appreciation to everyone in Victoria who gave generously to The Smith Family’s 2017 Winter Appeal. This year we had exceptional support from the Australian public, raising over $4.6 million nationally to help thousands of disadvantaged children across the country with their education.

For the 1.1 million young Australians living below the poverty line, staying engaged at school and keeping up with their peers can be extremely challenging. Without educational support and extra resources, they may never reach their potential and are more likely to experience hardship as adults.

Funds raised from our Winter Appeal will help nearly 11,000 disadvantaged Australian children with the extra learning support they need, through our reading programs, after-school Learning Clubs and the iTrack online mentoring program.

It is heartening that this cause has resonated with so many people who gave to our Appeal, which not only helps the children who access our programs but their families and communities.

I would like to thank each and every individual who made a donation. Your help will have a direct, lasting impact on disadvantaged children here in Australia, giving them the best chance possible to break the cycle of poverty and create a better future for themselves.

Anton Leschen, The Smith Family’s Victorian General Manager