Letters to the editor - August 4

We can make a difference

Re Racist Attacks Shock (The Standard, August 4), I think the majority of us would agree that we don't want this kind of behaviour in our city. Is it enough to just say what these people did is wrong? Should we hold ourselves responsible for this behaviour in our young? If we made an effort to disagree with someone's comments that are racist even a little bit would people think it was OK to terrorise others? To not comment or look the other way will not lead us to peace, unity and love.

Luke Foster, Warrnambool

War medals query

I am in a quandary as to how many sets of war medals did the late Aborginial serviceman Reg Saunders possess. The locals at Purnim now claim they got a bargain when they sucessfully bid for these 'claimed medals' in a recent auction for $11,000. Only this week a daughter of the late Capt Saunders in Heywood, Hilary Saunders, disputes this fact and states that her father's medals are in fact in the War Memorial in Canberra, the family gave them to the Memorial so I suppose they would have a rough idea what medals are where? Interesting one to ponder aye?

Terrance Harvey Peter Manley, Dartmoor

Editor’s note: The medals auctioned were one of two sets, which was previously reported.

Re-think gas vote

The four Moyne Shire councillors who voted in favour of overturning the moratorium on land-based “conventional” gas extraction (The Standard, July 26) may change their minds when they discover all the relevant facts. Over ninety percent of communities surveyed in the regions, including farmers, were extremely concerned about the pollution of air and water and degradation of farm land that are associated with land-based gas extraction, not only from fracking but also from drilling through aquifers. Whilst “unconventional” methane gas extraction using chemicals and “fracking” has now been banned by the Victorian government, there are also possible risks from conventional methods. This is because of the toxins in drilling fluids, pollution that may be caused by drilling through aquifers, and emissions to the air. There is no shortage of gas: Australia has enough gas to last us 30 years but corporations have been allowed to build huge export facilities and ship the gas off-shore. Three years ago it was forecast that Australians would be charged international prices so that the gas companies could recoup their infrastructure costs. Australians now pay higher prices than are paid in Japan for our gas. Around the world countries are converting to solar, wind, and a variety of storage techniques. These clean energy industries are providing thousands of jobs. Our federal government persists in its 1950s mindset whilst threatening those Australian states that value their water, food supplies and health above the short-term gas industry. The Victorian Labor government has taken a proper scientific attitude in setting up a scientific investigation of conventional methods of gas extraction. There is after all, no hurry: fossil fuels are dying industries around the world, seeking to make fast bucks whilst they still can.  Why should we risk permanent damage to water resources, agriculture and our health from a short term industry that will only export any extra gas that it may extract, and at a cost and not a profit to us? Moyne councillors should follow the example of the Mayor, and await the results of the scientific study before trying to destroy the moratorium on land-based conventional methods of gas extraction. 

Gillian Blair, Secretary, Sustainable Agriculture & Communities Alliance, Panmure

Raising awareness

Homeless Person’s Week runs from August 7-13.  Currently there are over 105,000 homeless people in Australia, 44,000 of which are under the age of 25, Homeless Person’s Week aims to raise awareness for those doing it tough. One in five homeless people seeking assistance are being turned away from vital, emergency accommodation services.  In modern Australia, these statistics are alarming and there is a lot of work to be done to fix this.  Homeless Person’s week raises awareness of these figures in the hopes of gaining support for this significant issue. People often only see homelessness as those sleeping and begging on the streets, but we need to ensure that our invisible homeless people are taken care of.  Homelessness is all around us. People who are forced to couch surf, sleep in cars or those who just don’t have a home to return to every night are the invisible homeless. It is often convenient for us to forget or ignore them but these people need our help. Now in its fourth year, our campaign #laceitup aims to bring awareness and funds to fight homelessness. Purchasing these laces and wearing them during homeless person’s week reminds us that taking off our shoes is a luxury. Many homeless young people need to leave their shoes on in case they have to flee for safety and to stop thieves from taking their shoes. This Homeless Person’s Week I implore everyone to stop and consider not only homeless Australians sleeping rough on the streets, but to think about how we can also help our invisible homeless. Homelessness is a nationwide issue that affects everyone and only by working together can we tackle this concerning issue.

Father Chris Riley, CEO and Founder of Youth Off The Streets