Help us move on
Re St Patrick’s Day fires and the push for compensation. Why is Powercor allowed to burn us out and move on as if nothing happened? We feel so isolated, we are not bad people, we pay our taxes and rates and contribute to society. We need the state government to help us. We are hurting like never before. We had some horror stories of flames going over the top of fire trucks, a grand-daughter looking after her 90-year-old grandmother thinking they were going to be burnt to death, grown men crying days after the fire because of near-death experiences. I reckon once upon a time a government would have supported their citizens against a multi national corporation which has no regard for their customers as long as their shareholders do OK. What a strange set of values we have got. Only the lonely know the way I feel tonight. Only the lonely know the feeling ain’t right. Please Mr Andrews, help us, we are sick and tired of feeling this way.
Jack Kenna, The Sisters
Yes to national park
The push for a Tower Hill National Park shows a clever vision for the future of this stunning amenity as well as for rural prosperity. Mr Laird’s “no to national parks push” (The Standard, August 25) shows a lack of understanding of the value of national parks to rural communities. Typically regions see an increase in tourists (read jobs and cash) between 28-62 per cent once classed as such. Some examples include Grampians 30 per cent, Murray-Sunset 62 per cent and Yarra Ranges 28 per cent (Gillespie Economics 2008). His arguments may have been more relevant in the 1950s. However now there are more people living in the vicinity and more people wanting to partake in nature-based activities like bushwalking and visits to national parks, both of which are seeing record participation elsewhere across the country with nature-based tourism worth over $40 billion (Tourism Research Australia 2018). Kakadu recently won a top tourism award and NSW is cleaning up with a 19 per cent increase in domestic nature-based visits. It’s time rural Victorians were allowed the same benefits which our nature assets afford us. To say duck shooting has no adverse impact on others is sadly untrue. The noise of gunfire, the sight of our native water birds falling dead and maimed from the sky and bits of bird and ammo cartridges found long afterwards, is unpalatable to most. In fact, studies show over 50 per cent of people and their tourist dollars will avoid areas with duck shooters, while only 16 per cent weren’t bothered (The Australia Institute 2012). The change to a National Park will lead to a greater financial outcome for the community and greater access for everyone.
Kerrie Allen, spokesperson for Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting Inc (OTDS)
Policy falls short
Matthew Guy’s opposition announcement of a 75 per cent local content requirement on new renewable energy projects worth more than $50 million might seem good on the surface, but will do little to create new jobs in the sector. Without a plan to grow the renewable energy sector over the next decade, Matthew Guy is putting at risk thousands of new jobs in the renewable energy sector. 75 per cent of zero is still zero. Compare this with the Andrews government's Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) which has been written into law and is providing long term certainty for jobs and investment in renewable energy. By setting out a plan to deliver more than 5000 megawatts of new wind and solar farms, the VRET secures a pipeline of work for wind workers at Keppel Prince in Portland, and for new jobs in construction and maintenance all over the state. It also has local content provisions. Unfortunately the opposition has pledged to scrap this important policy if elected in November. If opposition leader Matthew Guy is serious about creating new jobs in renewable energy, he will drop his pledge to scrap the VRET, and match the Andrews government's ambition on renewables. When it comes to creating new jobs in renewable energy, it's the only game in town.
Pat Simons, Brunswick West, Yes 2 Renewables Coordinator, Friends of the Earth, Melbourne
It has been reported that 30 children on Nauru are currently experiencing symptoms of Trauma Withdrawal Syndrome. This is a life threatening mental disorder that could see the children’s bodies shut down. It is the latest result of the ongoing mistreatment of asylum seeker children which the United Nations has described as “torture”. This abuse of children is endorsed by the newly appointed Minister for Education Mr Dan Tehan who has described the treatment of these children as “in line with Australian community standards”. If complaints are made to Mr Tehan’s Office about the mistreatment of school children on Nauru the reply is that it is a matter for the Nauruan Government. Mr Tehan has a similar “head in the sand” approach to child abuse in Australia. Mr Tehan opposes the recommendation of the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse forcing priests to report information (eg child abuse) revealed to them by people making confession. Mr Tehan’s position is untenable for an Education Minister as it puts the Catholic Church’s culture and procedures ahead of the interests of children. Just as with the children on Nauru Mr Tehan is not prepared to act when children’s safety is at risk. I think Australian children deserve an Education Minister who doesn’t condone child abuse and who does not support child abusers by backing a church policy that protects them.
Peter Martina, Warrnambool
Some things change and some don’t. This has always been a land of drought and flooding rain. Neither of much use. Statesmen before us built dams and storages and families were able to farm broad grazing areas. These areas could reliable supply our food and in droughts fodder and feed poured out to those in need. Our drought now is large but feed is pathetically short and expensive? An example of the crisis, in sheep country, wethers are long gone and ewes have been progressively culled down to three year olds. Core breeding stock held desperately and no help in sight. Our irrigation areas have been stripped of water. Why? the cry “environment” and we all fall prostrate. Families in irrigation areas constantly ask, “show us a benefit”? The immediate reply “just not around here – environment”. Silently prostate again. Supermarkets fill their ‘void’ with cheap imports. There is a big water pipe going from the Goulbourn storages to Melbourne. Water that could grow food washing cars. Adelaide, South Australia has increased its water consumption more than three times over since it built its last dam in the 60s. A huge pumping station on the lower Murray and water is now pumped even out to Streaky Bay on the Nullarbor. Water that could grow food growing lawns in the desert. My questions? The cry environment and I am silently prostate
Gary Ryan, Colac