Huge congratulations to our South West TAFE
Congratulations to South West TAFE on its achievement of being recognised as the state's best large vocational training provider. The Institute has been a major asset to the region for many years.
As well as being a significant enterprise itself, its presence has underpinned the local economy through the provision of a skilled workforce closely attuned to the needs of employers.
The multi-campus structure across the region also means that high quality training is generally available close to home for both students and employers.
These difficult COVID times have required great flexibility and adaptability by staff but generally the Institute's students have been able to make good progress with minimum extensions to the duration of courses.
Over the years the Institute has been able to withstand the pressures of substantial reductions in funding, and government encouragement of lower quality "for profit" training providers.
It also continues to be a good corporate citizen, as demonstrated by its current involvement with the joint library development. Well done chief executive officer, Mark Fidge, and all involved. You have achieved what I failed to achieve in my 22 years at the Institute.
Barrie Baker, Warrnambool
Destruction of Djab Warrung Tree 'deplorable'
Dear Mr Premier, I am a long term Labor voter and member of the Labor party.
I have been an active unionist via the AEU. I do support you and your government's actions in many but, of course, not all policies and actions.
The attack on citizens, use of police and the Chief Officer's Covid laws in evicting protesters from Djab Wurrung is a travesty.
This action feeds the false media reporting of you and your government in relation to your Covid response and many other of your decisions. The destruction of any old growth tree is to be deplored.
The destruction and disrespect of culture is a crime. When citizens challenge a government action we are often told "you don't understand the issue".
I'm desperately trying to understand any government of a proud Labor Party, the same party that stepped in to save the Franklin River, can sanction this action. Bob Hawke and your passion, we need you.
Peter Mills, Julie Billett, Warrnambool
Now is the time for all of us to stick together
Sadly it seems that the early catchphrase, 'we're all in this together', has grown weary and lost some of its' potency. The exclusion of groups or individuals contradicts ideals such as unity.
The consideration of everyone's wants and needs may prove to become an unrealistic undertaking, perhaps eclipsed by the mantra 'united we stand, divided we fall'.
May I suggest in this period of separation and isolation that the emphasis placed on the use of modern technology, could undermine the importance of the human touch in the mammoth and delicate task of addressing the mental, emotional and spiritual health of us all.
May each of us look forward, without discrimination to meeting again in our chosen place of worship, be it pub, cafe or church.
Brian Kavanagh, Warrnambool
Time to fix up our beautiful beaches
As a person who has spent most of his life on the beach and still walk the beach everyday it is very concerning to see the state of the beach at present.
The erosion is dangerous and with the summer coming and tourists expected in great numbers pre-covid work needs to be done now.
The dunes need to be angled back from the high water line towards the walking path in the short term and as Bruce Campbell suggested (The Standard, October 17) lined with the suitable vegetation.
It may take long term strategy plan to restore the beach to where it needs to be but in the meantime some minor work to make the beach attractive and safe is the way to go.
Pushing seaweed up to the dunes is not the way to support the dunes.
With the increase in the numbers using the beach, stairs are not the answer to access.
With families with children carrying beach gear, our older people and others carrying surfboards - ramps are the only safe way to access the beach.
Port Fairy is a great example.
Make our beach safe and attractive for everyone. It is satisfiying to see some of our council candidates have similar views on our coastline.
Peter Gibbons, Warrnambool
Regional ratepayers are already 'burdened'
New councils across western Victoria will soon emerge from local government elections and the coronavirus cocoon.
They will be confronted with a challenging economic landscape.
Newspaper reports are asking 'how much' local governments should borrow to help local economies recover.
They propose the question as an inevitability, as if there is no other formula for progress.
There are many who yearn for the traditional local government mantra of roads, rates and rubbish - a position long forfeited by cost shifting from higher tiers of government.
Regional ratepayers are already burdened with larger rate bills than Melbourne - and the thought of more debt must have farmers chewing on the matter as much as they do the weather.
For example, a $800,000 property in Melbourne's inner Stonnington City Council, would attract rates of $962 - one per cent of the median household income for that area. That same house in the Buloke Shire, which includes Birchip, would realise $6,990 in rates, 18 per cent of the median household income.
Ratepayers know that rate caps mean nothing if the money is simply pursued via other means. The ratepayer ultimately pays one way or other.
It is why I asked the Victorian Treasurer in Parliament this week what measures the government intends to take in its upcoming budget to ensure the coronavirus debt burden is neither placed upon western Victorian councils - nor exacerbates their burgeoning cost shifting liabilities.
Our federal and state debts are big enough for our grandchildren - and theirs.
Bev McArthur, Member for Western Victoria
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