We require state roads upgraded and maintained. VicRoads has been proven by the condition of our statewide network and Auditor-General's report to be incapable right across their range of duty. It is not a funding problem, it is a mismanagement problem. Under the Labor Government, the inquiry into VicRoads has failed to achieve a report while Daniel Andrews has exercised his wisdom by ignoring advice and is spending $941 million in setting up Regional Roads Victoria in Ballarat. "This ground breaking 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, instead of attempting to solve the problem, he has only duplicated it. RRV covers some regional centres such as Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Werribee, while rural regions miss out again. There is no necessity for Regional Roads Victoria whatsoever as all these centres are supposed to be covered and inspected by VicRoads. The only plus for Mr Andrews is that it could make his unemployment figures look a bit better. There is no way a costly name change can help the condition of our statewide network. State road funding needs to be allocated directly to where the roads are, local shires and city councils. Within six years, every state road could be upgraded, or resealed and maintained for less funding per year than Daniel Andrews has allocated. Bypass VicRoads. Allocate the funding to where the roads are, to the 79 councils throughout the state. I have been campaigning and supported by Cr Jim Doukas from Moyne Shire for two years. Anyone with any concern at all about the condition of our state roads, need to cast their vote in a different direction, and to show some interest and lobby to have funding directed to each rural council where the roads actually are. We would see true value for the dollar, particularly as roadworks would be inspected. We would see roads upgraded right across the state for a fraction of the funding that is being squandered at the moment. Under no circumstances do we need RRV and if funding was directed to each council, then we wouldn't need VicRoads either.
Wallace Hill, Ardonachie Street, Macarthur
There are few more chilling a call than the cry of ‘shark’ at the beach on a summer’s day, unfortunately the cry of snake seems to be almost as emotive. This is the time of year that our reptilian friends are starting to escape brumation and seek food. This brings them into contact with humans and we are already seeing the calls over social media of regular tiger snake sightings and the misidentified copperheads becoming commonplace. Every post seems to be littered with the disappointing “the only good snake is a dead one” or the heroic “I would have killed it” and that really brings a shiver of shame to my heart. People advocating for the death of an inoffensive native creature going about its merry way will in most cases be caring thoughtful people in the scenario of loving their pets and the more popular local fauna but not when extending the same consideration to what I consider to be a beautiful intelligent natural wonder. The deliberate killing of a native snake is not only illegal but also in the vast majority of cases completely unneeded. The natural instincts of these reptiles is to be as far away as possible from human contact but the deeper encroachment into their previously undeveloped habitats will ensure some areas will also contain a number of tigers and copperheads in close proximity to humans. The vast majority of the inevitable encounters are fleeting and result in terrified humans as well as terrified snakes. Their first overpowering instinct is to flee and maybe put on a little bit of a threat display by flaring their body and even hissing loudly, this is generally followed with a rapid about face and disappearance. The amount of awe and adoration we show other species that inhabit our world should also extend to the creatures we do not fawn over, we are happy to go to great lengths to help the environment with recycling, alternative energy sources and cutting down our greenhouse footprint but overlook this very real and local icon. Maybe we need to change the image and allow them the consideration and enthusiasm we show the cuddly creatures. I must add if you are fortunate enough to encounter a local snake, stand still and let them carry on their merry way or if they are in the house or shed do not attempt to remove it as they will be terrified and may actually bite in defence. Call a registered snake catcher and keep an eye on it until they arrive. Please show some appreciation for such an amazing inhabitant and maybe even learn enough about them to appreciate how special they really are.
Scott Norris, Warrnambool
Facts, not fear: How we die is important
I would like to comment on Penny Hackett, President of Dying with Dignity NSW, writing under the heading "Facts, not fear: how we die is important" (The Standard 15/11/2018). No-one could argue with the title, nor with the points made about the importance of advance care planning. But in her efforts to promote voluntary assisted dying Penny Hackett skews the facts, and so generates unnecessary fear. Let me be clear that I did not campaign against the legislation that will be enacted in 2019. However I cannot sit back in the face of her sentence "it is clear that many experience a "bad death" with great pain and suffering, causing lasting distress to their loved ones". This is just not true. In five decades of medical practice, over half spent in palliative care, I can say that only a very small minority suffer in this way, and generally speaking, with correct management, there are ways to overcome such situations even under current laws. Around 40,000 Victorians die each year, but it is estimated that only a couple of hundred will make use of the Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation. Most of us will therefore die the way we always have. I don't say it is easy, and I don't say it isn't sad. Some of us will be reassured by having the option of the new laws, but all of us can plan in advance, come to terms with our eventual mortality, and create good memories along the way. Understanding and accepting dying through adequate preparations, and knowing how to use the authority we all have within the medical system are crucial to having a good death. There are good experiences to be had even while living with dying, even in its last stages. Good deaths are those supported by our networks of family and friends, community organisations and health professionals. The volunteers of the Warrnambool and District Community Hospice stand ready to assist families in their preparation and care during this difficult, inevitable, but potentially rewarding time of life.
Eric Fairbank, Warrnambool
I had a chuckle reading a story this week where Mike Neoh and James Purcell hypothesised that election commitments mean Roma Britnell is going to lose her seat. I roared laughing when Mr Neoh was quoted as saying "I'm very realistic with what I'm promising" what exactly are you promising Mike? So far all you have done is say what other people need to do, you've offered no vision, no policy. You are being realistic, promising nothing because you don't expect to be elected. Mr Neoh is really starting to show his true colours and his desperation to get a seat in Spring Street - after spitting the dummy and leaving the Liberal Party, only to join the Nationals, fail to win the seat in 2015 and then fail to win pre-selection for the upper house in 2018. As for Labor-light Purcell - how could anyone trust a word this man says. He's been hiding for the past four years, only coming out now when there's a nice chunk of taxpayer money up for grabs if he gets enough votes. He's done nothing but vote with his mates in Labor and The Greens while riding on everyone else's coattails, flip-flopped and gone with the prevailing winds. These two men should be seen for what they really are, a disgruntled former Liberal/National and a man who has done nothing but sold out his constituents for his own benefit. I know where I'll be voting.
Gordon McKinnon, Black Street, Koroit
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