Letters to the Editor – Septemeber 1, 2017

Beaches key to tourism

I too question why Minister Lily D’Ambrosio should consider permitting the training of racing horses on our beaches. In addition to the reasons given in letters last Saturday, horses can trample the nests of the Hooded Plover which is endangered. Thanks to volunteer wardens on our beaches, Birdlife Australia has been able to report that the Hooded Plover population has been recovering. In the face of galloping horses, it is unlikely that it would be safe for wardens to continue protecting the birds. Warrnambool and Moyne are heavily dependent on ecotourism. Thousands have visited the whale viewing platform this year. Our beaches are a reason for our popularity as a holiday destination. The Port Fairy Folkie and spring festivals attract environmentally-alert people. Training racing horses on our beaches brings small economic benefit and risks much larger ones. If we want to be able to tell others how to look after this planet, we need to start here.

James Dunbar, Warrnambool

Live a life of love

To my precious friends, and in this instance my precious gay friends and family, I am writing because in this time of harsh words and delineating categories, I want you to know how much I care about and appreciate our friendships. As you know I am not gay, but I want to thank you for our happy times together, for our rich conversations, your intellect, our repartee, for your smiles of friendship, your caring actions, for your acceptance of me even though our views differ. For all this I wish to express my genuine appreciation. I have been saddened many times of late by the anger and vitriol, the desire to win at the expense of truth, expressed between fellow human beings in this current marriage debate.  It is no use pretending to agree on all issues, or that we will vote the same way, but as a very great man once said, “the greatest of these is love”. This doesn’t, refer to sexual love, or even being nice to one another, but a deep, very deep, consuming desire for the very best, the richest truth, and the greatest compassionate care for one another. Truth will set us all free; will be the best for everyone.  May each of us participate in life abounding in truth and love.

Jenny Arms, Grassmere

Employment welcomed

I welcome the news that employment growth in regional Victoria was more than double the national rate during the past year, with nearly 27,000 new jobs created in regional Victoria. The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) also shows unemployment in regional Victoria has fallen by 0.4 percentage points to 5.1 per cent – the second lowest regional unemployment rate in the nation. That includes 8000 jobs created under the Andrews Labor Government in the Warrnambool South West region. The unemployment rate in the region has also dropped from 5.2 per cent under the previous government to the current level of 4.7 per cent. The ABS also confirmed that nearly half of all the jobs created throughout regional Australia during the past year were created in Victoria. Since the Andrews Labor Government took office, more than 60,000 jobs have been created across regional Victoria, with the unemployment rate dropping from 6.6 per cent to 5.1 per cent. The 2017/18 state budget delivered the largest ever investment in regional Victoria, with projects like the Warrnambool line upgrade and school upgradesat Warrnambool East primary and Portland South primarypoised to contribute to the strong jobs outcome. Since November 2014, employment in Victoria has increased by 247,100 people – the most of all the states – with the majority of those jobs full time. The government’s concerted efforts to create jobs and grow regional economies is gathering momentum. Our investments in infrastructure, health and education, as well as our payroll tax cuts, are providing employment for thousands of Victorians and bolstering the confidence of regional businesses to expand their operations.

Gayle Tierney MP, Member for Western Victoria