Train 'good value'
Your article 'First class train 'hopeless' August 24, featuring the bitter complaints of a train traveller who felt jolted by the quality and cost of a first class ticket on the Melbourne train. I use this service regularly and it seems an amazingly inaccurate way to characterise the service. Charming. Quaint. Good value. That's how I'd describe the glories of a seat in the first class carriage. Not only do I get ample room in a comfy seat, I have my own pull down tray with a hole in which I can place a cup. I can have a cup because there is a canteen on this wonderful old train. It's a canteen with a friendly person serving, whats-more. There is also a conductor - invariably courteous and efficient - who goes up and down the train checking tickets.I do not consider $94 return, as paid by the disgruntled person in the article, too bad (though, as the proud possessor of a magic seniors card, I don't pay anything like that). It is certainly not cheaper to use a car, nor is it relaxing or fun to drive. I hope no-one is put off train travel by your mean-spirited article. First Class is grand!
Rose Scott, Moonee Ponds
It was stated in The Standard on August 17 that some councillors were "swayed" by an "invested minority" group of residents, when the councillors voted to reject a planning application by the Myer Group on behalf of WRAD. These "invested minority" residents are the same whom the VCAT members noted had valid reasons for their concerns about how the proposed centre would be managed and what rules and protocols would be in place. VCAT also recognised the residents' concerns related to availability of water and disposal of effluent. The site is not connected to mains water and the residents successfully questioned the accuracy of the Water Feasibility Report dated 7 June 2018. Before use of the facility commences, a water servicing plan must demonstrate that the water supplies to the land are sufficient to serve the potable, non potable and fire requirements of the centre. As the tribunal noted "an adequate water supply is not an optional extra, but is fundamental to the on going operation and habitation of the centre". And also, as the site is not connected to the sewerage system, the disposal of all effluent from bathrooms, toilets, kitchen, laundry and drains will need to be managed on site: this will involve the building of a waste water facility and irrigation filter system on the site. In the editorial of the 17th August it is stated that councils employ professionals to guide ratepayers and councillors. Yet the editorial seems to suggest that the councillors should have no opportunity to question the decisions of those who are employed to "guide" them. It's the responsibility of the councillors to question everything, that's why they are elected - to represent the interests of the ratepayers and residents. By voting to reject the planning application, they were doing what they were elected to do.
Dorothy Rooney Warrnambool
International driver solution
The Premier dismissed my call for a solution to the international driver issue that is putting motorists and pedestrians at risk on the Great Ocean Road. He suggested my "comments were bordering on being culturally inappropriate" and that he will instead "take [his] advice on road safety from the experts". Unfortunately for Mr Andrews, his experts do not seem to be able to make a dint on the problematic international driver issue, with their international driver education program appearing to be failing the sight and hearing test, as the road toll continues to rise. I'm interested in stopping death and injury to all drivers including local and foreign motorists, not in ensuring that I remain culturally appropriate.
We all love tourists and we want both tourists and local motorists to be safe on our roads. I'm interested in any suggestion and urgent action that reduces the injury and death on the Great Ocean Road, to say nothing of the police time wasted by attempting to pursue driver infringements when motorists have left the country.
VicRoads reports that currently 21 per cent of crashes along the Great Ocean Road involve international drivers, a conservative figure because it only counts those in which ambulances are called.
When I attended a community meeting on the issue earlier this year, a first-hand testimony from a bus driver reported that she witnesses up to four near-miss crashes every trip between Geelong and Apollo Bay, making it "like playing Russian roulette every day when [she] goes to work.
"In any case, I am pleased that my call for action has prompted Mr Andrews to get involved.
He is correct, I am no road safety expert and don't profess to be.However, I have sought to offer a common-sense solution to reduce crashes along the Great Ocean Road by a fifth.
It is also the case that if hire car companies were held accountable by way of the number plate for driver infringements, maybe a greater sense of responsibility would occur at the point of hire. I understand that tollway infringements are picked up by hire companies.
Currently, VicRoads only recognise the driving experience of foreign licence holders from 27 countries and jurisdictions, with these drivers not needing to take any tests to obtain a Victorian drivers licence.
Obviously VicRoads do this for a reason, or they are also being "culturally inappropriate".
I look forward to Mr Andrews' experts coming up with a definitive solution to the international driver issue that is putting local bus drivers; school children on school buses; farmers on their tractors; milk tankers and heavy transport vehicles including those carrying livestock; let alone local motorists and pedestrians; at risk on a daily basis
Beverley McArthur MP Member for Western Victoria Region
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