No harbour funding a great disappointment
As a member of the Warrnambool City Council Harbour Community Reference Group for many years I am disappointed that State funding was not forthcoming to repair our crumbling breakwater and install safer boat launching facilities.
These are both urgent and as a community we must continue to push for them to be completed soon.
I disagree with some commentators that Council has made poor decisions around these projects.
The projects are very complicated and not simply about making a choice to satisfy the interests of seafaring fishers.
I believe Council has always strived to be inclusive of all community interests in our harbour and any potential impacts on our Lady Bay beaches, the Merri Marine Sanctuary and the amenity of the wider harbour surrounds.
I think Council has been genuinely led by science and engineering realities rather than emotions.
We want a harbour that survives the long term battering by the wild southern ocean, made tougher by rising sea levels.
And we need boat launching facilities that serve us safely and well into the future. I think Council and the Harbour Reference Group can achieve this.
But only with the financial support of State or Commonwealth government's, not Warrnambool ratepayers.
Bruce Campbell, Warrnambool
'Road plan announced without consultation'
Released under cover of a COVID Christmas, the Victorian ten-year road safety plan was not developed with road user groups.
The forums held across the state in 2018 were information sessions not consultation. User groups were mostly ignored.
In 2020 four police died in a Melbourne freeway emergency lane smash. In two weeks at the end of November a woman and two children died in wire rope barrier crashes near Perth and Brisbane.
Road authorities were warned.
An aim of this plan is control of road users via enforcement and short term actions we known as blitzes. Another aim is to make roads safer workplaces.
A way to do that is to open run-off areas by removing barriers where they are not needed ensuring emergency stop lanes are wide enough to be relatively safe.
Priority aims did not include repairing rural roads, improving crash data, better driver training and a more visible police presence on roads.
The Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 is spin.
It promotes the unattainable vision zero idea and talks about leading the world in "lifesaving road safety policies" from 1970 to 1986.
Traffic has changed dramatically in thirty years but tax payer funded bureaucrats have not kept up.
The aims of the plan state: "Ensure unprotected and vulnerable road users are supported by the road system, not impacted by it."
But it does nothing to improve roadside hazards. WRB is promoted as a solution not a problem. Big changes are needed in 2021.
Where ever you are in this wide brown land, stay safe this summer.
Damien Codognotto, Motorcycle Riders Association Australia
Further commitment needed for Portland Aluminium
I'm all for business standing on its own two feet and allowing market forces to prevail.
However, when it's government that is causing the inability to compete, then government have a role to play in supporting business - this is particularly pertinent for the situation Portland Aluminium is facing.
The federal Liberal government has recognised that and taken important steps to ensure the smelter is financially compensated for the important role it plays in stabilising the east-coast energy grid - powering down on days of high demand to help prevent blackouts.
Where the federal government has again stepped in and shown its support - The Andrews state Labor government remains silent.
Aluminium is in high demand across the globe, but skyrocketing energy prices are holding Portland back and casting a cloud over its future viability.
The policies of the Andrews Labor government have meant that Victorians are paying more for their electricity than any other state.
Renewable energy can and will play a part in helping lower prices - but while we wait for those projects to come online, we have an imbalance in available and reliable power and prices skyrocket.
Right now, renewable technology isn't capable of delivering the secure energy supply the smelter needs.
The smelter's energy demand is almost three times the total capacity of the Hornsdale Power Reserve Project - the largest battery on the east coast grid.
Renewable technology will eventually provide what the smelter needs - but it's not going to happen overnight and unfortunately the clock is ticking on the smelter's current power deal.
Portland Aluminium needs support from the Andrews Labor government to transition, to give renewable technology time to catch up.
Energy is too expensive for manufacturing to be competitive in this state. We need to embrace the manufactures we do have and not drive them away.
We need to grow the sector, not shrink it. We can and will have both cheap power and a strong manufacturing sector - but it won't happen in the next six months.
The Victorian government must play its part and support current manufacturers like Portland Aluminium until we reach a point where energy is affordable, and supply is secure.
If Daniel Andrews and Labor walk away, the legacy they will leave in our region will be mass unemployment, a diminished local economy and a manufacturing sector decimated.
I'm committed to Portland Aluminium; The federal Liberal government is committed - but is Daniel Andrews?
Roma Britnell MP State Member for South West Coast
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