Don’t stop the music
Readers who missed the first two episodes of the ABC three-part documentary Don't Stop the Music should go back and watch it. Evolving from the production of the series Musica Viva, it has organised a Don't Stop the Music appeal for musical instruments. So please everyone dig out that long unused guitar, violin, flute, trumpet, drum kit or other instrument and deliver it to the Salvation Army for distribution to schools in need of them to establish a music program. The documentary quoted a statistic that in the four years of Finland's teacher education course the graduate will have had over 400 hours exposure to music education experiences. This enables them to implement a meaningful curriculum in the primary class room. A graduate of a Victorian teacher education course will have experienced about 23 hours exposure to music in the classroom. Unless they come to the course with a musical background, a Victorian graduate will not have the confidence and ability to take classroom music. It is to be hoped that parents now will be moved to press their school principals and school councils to fund appropriate teaching staff, and allot classroom time. The whole community should press the teacher-ed providers for a greater emphasis on music in the teacher education courses. It is timely that Don't Stop the Music follows so closely on the death of Richard Gill – a tireless advocate for the importance of music to the young brain, and the better development of literacy, numeracy and social skills. At Richard Gill's instigation, in 2012 the Gwen & Edna Jones Foundation and the Uebergang Foundation funded a program at Deakin University to upskill local generalist primary school teachers to be confident in teaching classroom music. A similar project will be run by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Warrnambool in 2019 and 2020, in extension of its PizzIMMERSION program. This will be enabled by funding from the Gwen & Edna Jones Foundation.
James Tait, Gwen and Edna Jones Foundation Warrnambool
Vote for more
I had a chuckle reading Gordon McKinnon’s letter regarding the upcoming state election. If people continue to vote blindly for Roma Britnell in this electorate we will continue to get what we have received in the past; which equates to not very much due to it being a safe Liberal seat. There are some quality candidates running in opposition to Roma Britnell who would give our electorate so much more as a marginal seat. Yes Gordon I know who I’ll be voting for and it won’t be Roma Britnell.
Gavin Arnott, Brown Street, Allansford
Keep industry viable
Thanks to Friends of the Earth for organising the candidates’ forum in Portland on November 15 and thanks to those who attended. An important point was made clear by Steve Garner and James Purcell that if the local content requirement for wind turbine production was too high then the local industry becomes not viable. The Liberal Party requirement of a higher local content will almost certainly cost us wind turbine production in the south-west as happened in South Australia. The Liberal Party appears to either not understand this or wants this industry shut down. Please phone Roma Britnell and ask her to rectify this problem in Liberal Party requirements.
Andy Pettingill, Pettingill Road, Gorae West
End horses on beaches
I am not shocked but extremely concerned to find Warrnambool City Council (WCC) chief executive and directors are failing in their responsibility to manage obvious ‘risk’ in allowing race horse training to occur on Warrnambool’s Lady Bay beach. Referring to the council’s policy statement (available on its website) the council is responsible for identifying and managing risk in accordance with approved standards and continually improving practises. I note that the specified goal mentioned in the policy is to eliminate risk rather than to manage risk. There are multiple significant risks involved in allowing race horse training along the Lady Bay beach. WCC is responsible for the implications of poor policy decisions involving high risk activities being allowed to occur in a public place, and ratepayers will ultimately pay a high price as a result. For example, there are no barriers between horses and the public, and the fact that horses can become erratic in their behaviour when frightened or stressed, makes for a very dangerous and unpredictable scenario. There are no warning signs on any beach access points to warn of race horses being trained and exercised on the beach. There are multiple stairways accessing the beach which when a person (or child) were to step down on to the beach, they could be knocked over by a horse in full gallop. The conditions that have been recently specified by WCC for race horse riders to adhere to are not being adequately monitored, and the likelihood of conditions specified being breached on a daily basis is extremely high. On a 30-minute walk along the foreshore last week, I witnessed no less than three breaches of these conditions. Currently, monitoring of compliance with the conditions specified is the responsibility of a Warrnambool Racing Club employee, and not WCC itself, which significantly increases my concern. On discussion with WCC staff, I was told that a WCC staff member is able to perform ‘random’ checks with compliance, but no regular monitoring was possible. In this discussion, I was assured that if any members of the public had a concern regarding race horse riders doing the ‘wrong thing’, that they can make a complaint to WCC, though how the public can do this without obvious information by way of signage or publicised information is telling. It is clearly very dangerous to allow race horses to be exercised and trained on a public beach, and WCC should put an end to this unacceptable risky activity.
Monique Ferrier, Warrnambool