Letters to the Editor - September 22

New school confidence

The negative publicity regarding the provision of a new Special Development School is unwarranted. Premier Andrews made the Government position very clear when visiting Warrnambool on July 21, 2017. In response to a question on this issue the Premier said: "Well there is $5 million in the budget for that school............We are in full agreement with the parent community, with the school community that improvements need to be made there, that's why there is $5 million provided in the budget and that's why future stages of that development will be funded." My understanding is that the Government is also addressing concerns arising at the current school site and a new building will be added soon. The parent group "Every Child" and the local member are implying that no progress has been made towards the provision of a new school. The land has been purchased and plans drawn up and approved. The Warrnambool SDS School Council, the children and parents should be confident of the provision of a new school despite the implications by the "Every Child"group. It is in the local member’s interests to continue to imply that the Government is failing on this issue but clearly Roma Britnell is off the mark.

Peter Steele, President Warrnambool Branch ALP

Government failing school

The State Government’s left hand doesn’t seem to know what the right hand is doing. Last week, just two days after Education Minister and Deputy Premier James Merlino ruled out money for the Northcote Primary School, the Premier rolled up to the school to announce cash for upgrades. Meanwhile children at the Warrnambool Special Developmental School are still waiting for their new building to be given funding. They are still sitting in classrooms that are too small, they still have no grassed area to kick a footy and the library cannot be accessed by children in wheelchairs. James Merlino has repeatedly told the Warrnambool SDS that they had to wait for a funding allocation in the state budget – but in Northcote, the cash is flowing freely outside the budget process as a by-election approaches. How is this fair – the children and staff at Warrnambool SDS have waited for too long – the need is desperate and this funding announcement in Northcote has set a precedent and they now have no excuse not to fund the new school building. If they don’t, it proves that James Merlino and Daniel Andrews only care about scoring political points and are putting their own electoral survival ahead of doing what's right for children living with a disability. The Minister can talk about my credibility all he likes, but the fact remains he is the one with the chequebook and he is the one who has so far failed to deliver students with special needs in Warrnambool the new school he promised them.

Roma Britnell MP, Member for South West Coast

Well deserved award 

Congratulations to Professor Terence O'Brien on his recent award on his research into all brain medical conditions (The Standard, September 18). Terence has given so many people a better quality life including our daughter. He is so dedicated and such a caring person that we were able to contact him at anytime. An award so well deserved  and a huge thank you again for all that you have done for your patients.

Glenda Hand, Warrnambool

Query on council’s stance

I am at odds with Cr David Owen re: his interpretation of council's role to lead the citizens of Warrnambool (The Standard, September 5). My inclination that the use of words such as serve, represent, consult might prove a more appropriate choice and less patronising than lead. Sadly the word bullying is raised to malign those, who in exercising their right to question a decision, is thrown about with wild abandon. I also question council's hasty decision on support of the yes vote on the marriage equality issue and its inaction as somewhat dubious as the vast majority of people represented would not be privy to the Local Government Laws implemented by council. Has such a law been conveniently used in the past, might it be similarly enacted in future issues arising? History all too regularly painfully reminds us of the disasters resulting from the pursuit of the noble cause for equality. Can we ever realistically attain equality when we so highly value our uniqueness? “The Impossible Dream”. Perhaps equanimity, being evenness of mind and temper, might prove a more realistic path to consider.

Brian Kavanagh, Warrnambool

CBD concerns 

I have lived in Warrnambool for 53 years, and in that time, know of only one road death in the CBD. Back then we as Warrnambool as a city was the envy of all our visitors for our beautiful lush green medium strips and wide streets that allowed the traffic to flow. But thanks to our current local council we have lost our beautiful wide streets and Liebig Street is now not worth going to because 1 in 4 shops no longer trade because there is extremely limited parking and as for there being nothing to stop cars from driving through shop windows when pulling into a park, pedestrians had better watch out as they could get run over. As for shoppers, well I have visited the CBD and I'm not impressed at all, only one third of car parks and they are too narrow, too short. Talk about street planning kafuffle. The disabled had better do all their shopping out at Gateway, out there the parks are terrific. It would seem the city council has turned green and through the back door is making our CBD into a mall.

 Neil Swan, Warrnambool