Fewer police real
I write in response to the article about police numbers in Warrnambool, which was published on June 27. The figures I provided were rock solid, they came from Victoria Police. They relate to front line, general duties police officers based in Warrnambool. The officers who are in the divisional van. The officers who respond to 000 calls, the officers who run the police station. It is disappointing the Minister has tried to spin the figures, talking about the number of Police Custody Officers based at the station. While the PCOs do an important and valuable job, they are not sworn police officers, they do not respond to emergency calls. The figures remain, in November 2014 there were 92.32 full time equivalent front line police officers in Warrnambool. In March this year, that number was 81.32, a decrease of 11 per cent. If you don’t believe me, ask a police officer if they have all the resources they need to be able to do the job they signed up to do. Ask them if there are enough officers to have an effective police presence out on the beat. And while you’re talking to them, say thank you for the extraordinary work they do to keep our community safe while under a huge amount of pressure.
Roma Britnell, Member for South West Coast
Train upgrades needed
We must wonder after reading the WInter 2018 community update on the Waurn Ponds to Warrnambool railway line with the omission of any reference to works in the Weerite area to allow for more trains to pass and improve rail services. Will we ever see an improvement to this rail service?
James Judd, Colac
At Monday night’s Warrnambool City Council meeting Cr Peter Hulin moved a motion to have general business reintroduced to meetings as an ongoing agenda item, what then transpired was undemocratic. Not one of Cr Hulin’s fellow councillors would second the motion causing it to lapse without any debate, surely the citizens of Warrnambool deserve better representation. The democratic process would have been to second it and let the debate from councillors be heard, regardless of being in favour or against the motion. Instead what transpired appeared to be a well-orchestrated collusion by six councillors not to second the motion, they were voted in to represent the citizens of our city and on this occasion failed dismally. The general business session gives the community the opportunity to have their voice heard via a councillor in an open frank discussion at the public meeting each month. Mayor Robert Anderson stated that 'councillors have the option of bringing up general business in briefings’, general business should not be behind closed doors as the public who attend the meetings need to hear the debate. It is also worth noting that three of these councillors when interviewed by The Standard prior to them being elected had indicated that they were in favour of the return of general business. Cr Tony Herbert said he was a big supporter of general business but it was “poor timing” on Cr Hulin’s behalf. The members of the newly formed Warrnambool Ratepayers Association were shocked to read Cr Herbert’s accusations “they were putting pressure on Cr Hulin to move this motion and that it looks as though it is to support the ratepayers association and particular gripes that ex-councillors have”. Cr Hulin is not a member nor has he attended any meetings of the association and these statements are completely false and inflammatory. The association was formed to give the ratepayers, residents and businesses of Warrnambool assistance and guidance regarding issues with their local council, this attack from an elected representative is not acceptable or warranted.
Brian Kelson, President Warrnambool Ratepayers Association.
Hug a dairy farmer
We run a small farm supply business, Dillon's Dairy Supplies, in the South West covering from Mt. Gambier to Apollo Bay, servicing over 500 farms. I use our trading terms as a barometer on the way things are travelling in the dairy industry. Normally in any typical month we would have around $10,000 owing to us past 90 days. So not current trading, but PAST 90 days. At the moment as of 30th June we currently have over $300,000 owing. These are farms that have been traditionally excellent payers. They want to pay, they have rung me up, in tears, apologising for not being able to make some kind of payment. I have not stopped credit to any of these farms. They are good people. They are in a position through no real fault of their own of increasing spiralling debt. This means that we are not spending or investing in staff and equipment, that means Warrnambool is missing out. To put it simply... It's a real food chain scenario happening. Take the dairy farmer out of the equation and rural towns die. “Oh the bloody milk factories.. they don't pay enough..." I don't blame the milk factories entirely, I believe they are paying what they can. It's almost like a perfect storm... because we have trade agreements with other countries, we end up importing dairy products. That hurts. The American dollar v Aussie dollar. That hurts. Grain and hay prices. That hurts. Electricity pricing. That hurts. $1 a litre milk. That hurts. Playing catch up from previous bad seasons. That hurts. We have made money on the current milk price in the past, it is do-able. What I believe is happening is all the input costs keep doubling, in what feels like every 3 or 4 years, but our milk price is unable to keep up. And even if it did, then all the service industries go "you beauty, let’s put our prices up!" The average person wants their 20 ft plasma TVs, new cars, fancy houses but only want to pay an absolute minimum for it. But at the same time, they expect to receive $1000.00 + a week in pay for doing very little work. This, I feel, is not sustainable. Australians have a very high lifestyle expectation, which is not a bad thing, but it needs to be in balance. If we look at the average dairy farmer he or she has invested typically $3-$5 million into the farm, livestock, machinery, etc. They typically work around 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. And for what? I worry about the mental health of our farmers. They are very stressed and blaming themselves for what really is of no fault of themselves. We need to nurture and reward our farmers. They are what everything else grows from. If you loose dairying you loose major towns. One thing about farmers is when times are good they will spend, and this helps all our communities. Next time you see a dairy farmer, give them a hug and thank them. They deserve better.
Charles Dillon, Naringal