What a load of bull. Spend $32,000 on a survey to find out the ratepayers' preferences on council raising rates over and above CPI. The ratepayers say that 95 per cent of us want council to live within its income, and not lobby the state government for permission to increase rates. Guess what? With a clear direction from ratepayers, councillors ignore them and press ahead anyway. One would have to ask why spend this money on a survey that was biased anyway towards council wishes, when there was no intention anyway to take any notice of the results. This was a clear example of democracy not in action
David Stennett Warrnambool
Here we go again, five out of seven councillors voted to apply for permission to increase council rates above the legislated 2.5 per cent per year, for the next three years at an increase of 2 per cent over and above the 2.5 per cent. There was community consultation carried out, which was mainly done on line, 782 people responded by completing the survey. From these people were contacted and asked to take part in one of three focus groups. A total of 31 people attended these joining in an open discussion and filling out questionnaires. The final outcome was approximately 95 per cent voted against any rate increase over and above the 2.5 per cent approved by state government. The cost for the final report back to council was $30,000 for the services of a consultancy firm. Despite all of this, five councillors decided on Monday what they wanted was more important. What arrogance they demonstrated, they do not recognise the positions they have been voted into, is a privilege of responsibility and not a right they are entitled to. We, who were part of the consultation groups, can only hope the request to increase rates by a further 2 per cent are refused. I commend Crs Tony Herbert and Peter Hulin, for the position they took in voting against the motion.
John Colledge, Warrnambool
Warrnambool City Council elect, decide and run and manage the city of Warrnambool, that is, they're paid for by the ratepayers of Warrnambool's. Rate increases will not fix this debacle, solid and sound management will, that should be the council's mantra, it should be let's save the ratepayers a few bob and stop buying dumb look good for us crap, parking fees at the blood bank, $600 fees for market stall holders, Woolworths parking fees, let the horse trainers provide their own training facilities. New green bins, what a waste, (pardon the pun) why, how much does this new added bin cost the city of Warrnambool, I want to know, I bet it's more than the entire rate rise expenditure. Where is the new harbour boat ramp, and the renewed Hopkins river users time debate, bring back Vern Robson, at least he got stuff done.
Dallas Bridgman, Warrnambool
Denis Napthine's opinion (The Standard, March 23) gives Jeff Kennett a hero-like status for saving our rail, by contracting it out for 11 years. Of course the company didn't seek a contract renewal because when it's only about profit, invariably maintenance is minimal. Yes, it was that same Kennett government that sold off our electricity and gas services, and we are now paying the price with high bills and low maintenance. The Cain/ Kirner, governments were visionaries, education and health were priorities. The Kennett government ripped the heart out of communities by closing many schools. Mental Health issues increased, isolation, anxiety concerning job tenure with the uncertainty of contracts. Perfect opportunity to introduce gambling to our state, and then be seen as the good guy in "Beyond Blue". The Andrews government are forward thinking, yet are continually attacked for being so. Desperate pitches by Dan Tehan and Scott Morrison who are flinging money around now, for infrastructure and fast trains, and are challenging our state government to match it, with the expectation other more worthy plans be scrapped. Fortunately it seems our brave young warriors striking for climate change policies are thinking of the future. Our local member Dan Tehan (The Age, March 16) commented the strikes were orchestrated by professional activists and children were missing valuable class time. This will be a lesson they will remember for life and they can make a difference. Monday's opinion on young Australians' potential is powerful; again funding cuts slash the programs. Indigenous 15-year-old Marlie Thomas concludes the page with a heartbreaking plea which all Australians and governments should act on.
Heather Tuck, Warrnambool
Horse argument holds no water
Warrnambool mayor Tony Herbert claimed in The Standard (March 19) "we may prefer that horses are not on that area but we are trying to balance the economic benefits to the city with our environment". The Standard also reported: 'Warrnambool mayor Tony Herbert said it was also keen to get horses back on beaches due to the economic benefits to the region'. Warrnambool Racing Club and local racehorse trainers have not had access to Levys Beach and dunes since September 2016, that is two-and-a-half years, 30 months or around 900 days. Quite some time. Consequently, some fanciful claims have been made trying to link access to Levys Beach and dunes for racehorse training as critical to the future of the racing industry in the south-west. During this period an independent economic input study of the May Racing Carnival, conducted by IER Consultancy and commissioned by Warrnambool Racing Club and Warrnambool City Council has found that the racing industry is very much alive and well in the area. The 2018 May Racing Carnival contributed $14.7 million to the area, a 20 per cent increase on the previous year. Visitor and patron numbers also increased. All this good news without access to a culturally and environmentally sensitive area for racehorse training. Not having access to Levys Beach and somehow linking it to the probable demise of the local racing industry holds no water. The facts prove it. There has been no mass exodus of trainers from the area. Warrnambool Racing Club has expanded and improved facilities. People continue to come to the races. The only threat to the local and wider racing industry and associated employment during this time has come from within, due to the unscrupulous behaviour of certain individuals. Cultural heritage, the environment and people's rights to safely access public land and beaches do not have to be sacrificed to support the racing industry.
Bill Yates, Killarney
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