Make it marginal
Wake up Warrnambool voters! Until you embrace the concept that Warrnambool needs to become a marginal electorate, then state Labor and Liberal governments will continue to disregard funding long overdue projects such as the Reid Oval redevelopment. Take a leaf out of the Ballarat and Bendigo playbooks. It's not a coincidence that both cities are in marginal electorates and receive funding for many major projects from both major parties when in government. Warrnambool's 'blue ribbon Liberal' voting history has cost the city and surrounding district big time. Neither major party has the necessary incentive to invest in the electorate. Voters - it's in your hands. You have the power to change that situation.
David Herbert, Malaysia
Balanced beach approach
The ongoing debate about the Belfast Coast usage going forward seems to have hit an all-time low, after reports of statements made at the BCRAG community symposium by some guest speakers, which was held last Sunday. Statements made by Bob Brown suggesting that governments and councils intend to privatise a coastal reserve to an industry (horse-racing) are absolute rubbish. John Schumann’s statement ‘Horses are for courses and beaches are for people’ make for a catchy slogan, but again are based on pure ignorance. Other statements, quoting numbers of horses using beaches, are wildly inaccurate, and quite frankly mischievous. Suggestions that there would be up to 250 horses per day using beaches on the Belfast Coast are based on what information? It’s all very well to have a position about the future uses of the Belfast Coast, but it would be much more helpful to have some semblance of accuracy. There clearly needs to be a balanced approach to the final plan, based on accurate information. That information is currently being gathered and supplied to DELWP. Hopefully a good outcome can be achieved, where all groups of beach users can be safely accommodated and none are excluded. The plan should also cater for heritage and environmental considerations.
Tammy Good, Warrnambool
End the beach argument
The issue of commercial horse training on the beaches and dunes of the Belfast Coastal Reserve has been ongoing and it’s certainly created much controversy in our region. This issue has not been well managed. From the outset, Warrnambool City Council allowed commercial horse trainers on to Lady Bay beach and then closed the beach at the start of the summer of 2015/2016. This simple action made the problem a Moyne Shire issue as 80 horses a day descended on Killarney Beach. This was when Belfast Coastal Reserve Action Group formed to oppose the invasion of our community beach. It was careless governance by both councils. Commercial horse trainers were also allowed into the dunes at Levy’s Point until it was halted in 2016, by Aboriginal Victoria, after sites of Aboriginal cultural heritage were threatened or damaged. A handful of local trainers, old families in the area, trained a couple of horses each on the BCR beaches for many years. It was small scale and there was no outcry. Community ire erupted when Darren Weir Racing and other larger scale trainers shifted their industrial scale operations to our usually quiet reserve. The State government became involved and the Minister for Racing, Martin Pakula, sought to exercise undue influence over the outcome for our precious coastline. The entire process has lacked transparency. As a community, we have been divided by this issue, brought about by outside influences. There is a simple solution. By creating first class commercial horse training facilities off the beaches, everyone wins. So too do the little Hooded Plovers and all the other migratory and resident shorebirds, as well as public safety and cultural heritage. Ballarat created excellent sand track facilities and are reaping the benefits. Darren Weir has built his own uphill sandtrack on his property in Maldon. Surely, with state government assistance, we could do the same here and end the argument. Then we can all enjoy the benefits of our pristine beaches and our great racing carnival without acrimony.
Shane Howard, Killarney
Exercise your mood
Research led by the Black Dog Institute has revealed that even a small amount of physical activity – as little as one hour each week – can protect against depression, regardless of age, gender or current fitness level. Depression is a serious public health issue with around one million Australians currently diagnosed. We also know that up to 20 percent of the Australian population doesn’t undertake any regular physical activity, which may significantly increase their risk of developing depression in their lifetime. The Black Dog Institute’s Exercise Your Mood campaign (30 April – 6 May 2018) aims to change these statistics by encouraging everyday Australians to improve their mental fitness by taking on at least one hour of exercise each week. Though it can be hard to take the first step, one hour is a very achievable goal and something we’d like to encourage your readers to build into their weekly routine. If they are already on track, keep up the good work! Your mental health will thank you for it.
Professor Helen Christensen, Director of the Black Dog Institute
A word of warning that the internet scammers are at it again. Never give control of your computer over to anyone over the telephone. Remember that when you give control over to another party they can see what is on your computer desktop and they can copy and view your files while you are speaking with them. Whatever you see in front of you on your computer they will also see. If you have been caught out by this it is important that you immediately change all of your bank log ins and any other log ins that may be stored on your computer. Never save passwords for financial institutions on your computer or they will be stored in the memory waiting for someone to come along and figure out how to break the security. Report the matter to your bank so they can keep a look out for unlawful transactions. The best course of action it if you are asked to share your computer then refuse to do so. No company will call you up and expect you to share your computer. Exception: If you call a company who you know that regularly fix your computer and they ask to share your computer then because you know and trust them it will most likely be alright however taking your computer to them would be the most secure option. In simple terms sharing your computer like this is like showing a thief your credit card details.
David MacPhail, Warrnambool
Renewable energy support
Renewable energy is making a strong, ongoing contribution to the social fabric of regional Victoria by providing much needed jobs, community investment and drought-proof income.
That's why it's disappointing to hear the Victorian Liberal party will debate a motion proposed by the Wannon area conference to immediately scrap the national Renewable Energy Target (RET)--a John Howard government policy--at the party's upcoming conference in Melbourne later this month.
Wind tower manufacturer Keppel Prince are the second-largest employer in Portland after the Alcoa aluminium smelter. The region is known as a leading exporter of food and fibre, and is increasingly known as an exporter of clean, renewable energy, with several wind projects operating and more in the pipeline.
The motion would send a signal that the Liberal party is happy to put the the livelihoods of wind workers, wind farmers, and the region's clean, green image at risk in favour of ideological games.
Will Liberal MPs Dan Tehan and Roma Britnell show leadership by stating their public support for local workers and wind farmers and working to quash the motion? This is not the time for silence, it's their chance to stand with the community.
Pat Simons, Friends of the Earth's Renewable Energy Spokesperson
Where’s the new trains?
Daniel Andrews and Labor must match the Liberal and Nationals commitment to buy and build new trains to run on the Warrnambool line.
We’ve heard much about how the federal government funded upgrades to the Warrnambool line will allow for V/Locity trains to run – but so far Daniel Andrews has failed to make any commitment to actually buy new trains.
On the other hand the Liberal and National have announced our plan to buy 96 next generation V/Locity rail cars at a cost of $638 Million.
These new trains will replace the diesel hauled fleet which has been in service since the 1980s. They will offer disability access, catering, first class and economy services and have a different fit out to the current V/Locity fleet.
If elected in November – an order for these trains will be placed in June next year and the gradual roll-out will be completed by 2022.
The State Government must match the Liberal Nationals commitment and order new trains to run on the refurbished tracks.
Daniel Andrews will try and claim this upgrade of the Warrnambool line is being funded by his Government, but in reality every dollar for the project is coming from the Federal Liberal National Government.
It was the Napthine Government that invested $100 million to build a new passing loop on the Warrnambool line, replacing those ripped out by the Bracks/Brumby Labor Government, to allow for additional services on the line.
Unlike the city-centric Labor Government, the Liberal Nationals understand the country, we know how it works and we will ensure the country is respected and connected.
Roma Britnell MP, Member for South West Coast