No to national park push
Calls to turn Tower Hill State Game Reserve into a national park and ban hunting (“Push gathers momentum” Warrnambool Standard August 22) show a clear lack of understanding of the history and purpose of State Game Reserves.
In the 1950s hunters recognised that waterbird habitat was in decline due to land clearance and wetland drainage. As the original conservationists, hunters appreciated that healthy waterbird populations, including the game species of ducks, were dependant on healthy wetlands.
It was hunters who put their money into practical conservation projects by convincing government to introduce a game licence. Money raised from the licences was used to purchase suitable wetlands around the state, which became the State Game Reserves. These areas were protected from clearing and development, providing wetland habitats that allowed entire ecosystems to survive and flourish.
Tower Hill, and other State Game Reserves around the state, exist today largely because of the foresight of hunters and their willingness to put their money into conservation projects. Every member of the community benefits from access to these wonderful areas today.
Hunters can hunt in parts of Tower Hill State Game Reserve for part of the year during the duck season to harvest organic, free range meat. They are restricted to early morning and late afternoon and have no adverse impacts on other users.
The current status of State Game Reserve allows for multiple-use, including hunting, while providing ongoing protection of the conservation values of the area. The push to change the status to a national park will not lead to better conservation outcomes – it will simply lead to greater restrictions on lawful and legitimate activities.
David Laird, Hunting Development Manager, Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (Victoria)
Powering our community
Re The Standard’s front-page headline Powercor withdraws support for annual charity cycling ride Tour de Depot”. The article was implicitly critical of Powercor for not continuing with the Tour de Depot. In fairness to Powercor, it should have been stated that: Powercor started the Tour de Depot; In three years it has raised over $170,000; Three worthwhile grassroots local charities have benefited, namely Warrnambool and District Foodshare, Standing Tall and Leila Rose Foundation; and Without this Powercor initiative the charities would not have done some of the great work they have. In other words, our community is the better for Powercor’s initiative. Powercor is an independent company, free to spend its money as it wishes, and the fact that our community has benefited in the past is something Powercor deserves praise for, not ridicule. As the Chair of the Melbourne to Warrnambool Road Race Committee we are delighted that Powercor will be the main sponsor of the 2019 event to be run on February 16. It is only with the support of businesses who generously provide the funds needed to run such events that we are able to run this fantastic race, the second longest running one-day cycling classic in the world.
Shane Wilson, chair, Melbourne to Warrnambool Road Race Committee
Roads body ‘a waste’
The Andrews Labour Government has committed to spend $941 million by setting up a new division of VicRoads based in Ballarat, with staff in regional centres across the state, called Regional Roads Victoria. R R V.
"This groundbreaking investment will upgrade roads right across the state,and for the first time will give our regional road network the direct attention it deserves," Mr Andrews said. Unfortunately this is a very misleading statement. What he does not explain is the cost involved in setting up a new division of VicRoads with a name change, office buildings,with managers and inspectors in Ballarat plus throughout regional centres, plus a fleet of RRV vehicles which is estimated to cost in total, approximately $5 to $6 million.
It so happens that none of this is necessary, simply because VicRoads already have managers and inspectors in Ballarat and practically all regional centres, inspecting all state roads. Why would anyone ever consider establishing another body at such a cost, to just look at the road, particularly when all state roads are regularly inspected by VicRoads?
This RRV is just a total waste of taxpayers money and will only continue to cost money every year, when all this funding should be spent on upgrading the road itself. No state road upgrades out of that. After setting up RRV the $941 million for roads will be reduced to approximately $400million. Of this there has been $100 million allocated to assist rural councils across the state, which equates to upgrading about five kms. of council roads in each rural council.
No state road upgrades out of that. Sturt Street in Ballarat will get a number of intersection upgrades. $98 million to be set aside for "planning and pre construction" of a new bypass for Beaufort and Ararat. No state road upgrades out of that.
$40 million has been allocated to upgrade the Princes Highway from Colac to the SA border. Just think about it, this is really just a joke, $40 million would not even upgrade the Princes Highway from Heywood to Dartmoor, let alone Colac to the border, come on Mr Andrews get real.
We are now left with less than $150 million of this ground breaking investment to upgrade 24,000kms of regional roads right across the state and for the first time give our regional road network the direct attention it deserves. Unfortunately the $941 million is just a political joke from the Premier.
It is much like money out of the sky to blow away in the breeze, it is sad to see so much taxpayer money just squandered while our state roads fall further into disrepair.
Anyone who has any concern at all about the condition of our state roads, need to cast their vote in a different direction, and lobby to have the funding directed to each rural council where the roads actually are, then we would see true value for the dollar and see state roads upgraded right across the state. Under any circumstance there is no requirement for Regional Roads Victoria whatsoever and if funding was directed to councils, then there would be no need for VicRoads either.
Wallace Hill, Macarthur
Act of kindness
After shopping at Gateway Plaza recently I returned to my car to discover that someone had placed a small spray of Camellias on the windscreen. Attached was a card stating that it was a random of act of kindness 'just to make me smile'. What a beautiful way to put joy into someone else's day. Thank you to the thoughtful person who in such a simple, quiet way contributes positively to the great community in which we are privileged to live.
Dianne Main, Warrnambool
Re-settlement not detention
Australians like to think that we are a friendly and multicultural society, but are we? Our media has shown great emotion expressed by members of parliament over statements by Fraser Anning that we should return to the White Australia policy, and his inclusion of the words “the final solution” in his proposal for admitting only white Christians into Australia.
The phrase “final solution” was used by the Nazi regime about their policy of sending Jews, political opponents, dissidents, the disabled, and Romany people to the gas chambers. These people were demonised by government, excluded from civilian life, and ultimately killed. That is uncomfortably close to how our federal government has been treating refugees.
All the anger and discussion over what Fraser Anning said serves the useful purpose of covering up the real mental and physical crisis on Nauru and Manus Islands and the racism and xenophobia that lie at the heart of imprisoning refugees. Like the Nazi government, our federal government has resorted to lies and secrecy: we have been told that “there are no children in detention”.
What has not been discussed with sorrow and anger is that this week a 12-year old boy is in danger of dying because of the conditions on Nauru where he has been for years. He has given up hope for life, given up eating and drinking, and given up communicating with others. Like others before him, his position has been ignored by federal government. Pleas from medical practitioners for this child to be taken to Australia have met the same denials of help that were given to other requests from medical and psychiatric. As a result, people have died from deliberate medical neglect from the federally administered department.
Refugee children, as well as adult asylum seekers, have over the past few years also been mentally, emotionally and physically damaged by the terrible conditions they are forced to live under in Nauru and Manus by our government. The effects of extreme stress and depression at a young age have a physically damaging effect on children’s brains.
Apart from the damage to children, 12 young men have died from the results of being imprisoned for years by the federal government policies of punishing refugees. Some died of medical neglect, others committed suicide, and one was murdered by security guards.
If we as Australians are not to be in the same category as the compliant Germans prior to World War II, then we should be demonstrating our opposition against the cruelty of keeping people imprisoned on Nauru and Manus. We should be phoning and writing to the Prime Minister to ask that the refugees be taken off Manus and Nauru and into our country for medical treatment, resettlement, and attempts to repair the psychological and physical damage that has been inflicted on them. Those who take no action, who are compliant and complacent about government mistreatment of refugees, are themselves implicated in this crime against humanity.
Gillian Blair, Panmure