I want to congratulate and thank the Warrnambool and wider south-west community for their extraordinary response to the coronavirus outbreak we are currently dealing with.
On Grand Final Friday when the first exposure sites were announced, people turned out in force to get tested - 2000 tests were done in one day after South West Healthcare launched a pop-up testing clinic in just a few hours.
In the days that followed and when cases were confirmed in Warrnambool and exposure sites grew, people kept turning out, waiting in line for hours so that thousands of tests could be completed over just a few short days.
I also want to put on the record my thanks to our incredible healthcare workers who have been at those testing sites, in all sorts of weather making sure the process was running as smoothly as possible - you are truly amazing and our community will be forever grateful for your work.
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I'm not at all surprised by the response we have seen - in country areas we pull together when times are tough, we do the right thing by our neighbours and we come together to defeat the common threat, be it fire, flood or now virus.
That's been shown first in the response to the outbreak locally and in our region's vaccinations rates.
As of Monday, 94.2 per cent of eligible people aged 15 years-plus in the Warrnambool City Council area have has their first dose and 65.3 per cent are fully vaccinated.
In the Moyne Shire, rates are at 91.8 per cent first-dose and 62.5 per cent fully vaccinated. In Glenelg it's 88.7 per cent first-dose and 59.3 per cent fully vaccinated.
These are extraordinary figures and show that people in our region haven't listened to the misinformation that has been spread online - they know that vaccines are safe and they have turned out in force to do the right thing by the community.
I'm proud to be the Member for South West Coast every single day, but when I see a response like we have had in the past two weeks and our vaccination rates, it just cements for me that our community is extraordinary.
Roma Britnell, MP State Member for South West Coast
Time to step up
Yes Lynne Carter (The Standard, September 25), I too have written to our local member Dan Tehan many times, and yes, disappointingly, nothing has changed.
His responses have been generic Liberal party rhetoric and not addressed specific issues I have raised. Our member, as a previous Minister for Defence Personnel, should be very aware of the circumstances in Afghanistan and why people are forced to flee their homes there.
Many of those same people have helped Australia and our Allies, during the long 20-year war that was supposed to deliver better, safer lives for the people of Afghanistan.
I, like the rest of Warrnambool and our nation, watched in horror at the recent events as the Taliban regained control. And, instead of acting to aid those whose lives are now at risk, the Australian government continues to refuse visas for people from Afghanistan; and still has complicated processes of application that are incredibly difficult for people on the run, fleeing for their very lives, to be able to complete.
Come on Dan - represent your electorate and respond with compassion to this humanitarian crisis. Show leadership by advocating for an increase in Australia's refugee intake by 20,000, as other countries have done. This issue is a humanitarian one, and not a time to play party politics.
Delia Crabbe, Warrnambool
Murdoch media is looming as a serious threat to our democracy in the same fashion it helped create a huge civil divide in America. The extreme right wing opinions emanating from their talk shows and news outlets are being taken onboard by right wing extremists who in turn accept this as truth and use it to spread their dangerous agendas and conspiracy theories across the social media.
This media organisation no longer provides evidence nor research, the basis of sound investigative journalism, but rather quotes other Murdoch media presenters as evidence, bring on the gossip and rumor spreaders aimed at achieving goals other than informing the public.
So far this year we have been presented with a looming war with China, lies about a stolen election in the US, left wing takeover of our education system, misleading information about vaccines and so on.
When questioned about the right-wing agenda concerning topics such as climate change, renewables, racism, anti-China sentiments the presenters do not engage in informed debate but rather resort to name calling; a woke, leftie, commo or an assortment of new but very divisive labels.
We must have a Royal Commission into both the ownership of media and the developing practices that have caused so much civil unrest in America, I was once proud of the journalism practices used by the Australian media, a very sad day for this great country.
Rob Graham, Terang
Protect this important sector
The European Union has highlighted Australia's failure to pull its weight on greenhouse emission reduction targets for several years now, and has threatened trade penalties. Similarly, trade with the US may also be jeopardised.
With the shift to the Biden administration, efforts to link trade relations with greenhouse gas emission reduction have gained prominence.
In 2020, the value of Victorian processed and unprocessed primary products to Europe and North America exceeded $1.7 billion.
There are many more jobs to be had for Victorians, and greater economic growth opportunities, from a rapid development of renewable energy technologies, than through short-sighted, dumb growth of fossil fuel extraction.
The Victorian government should immediately impose an embargo on fossil gas exploration and extraction licences, and safeguard the future of the Victorian food and agricultural export sector.
Robyn Healy, Woodford
Stop the contamination
Some serious problems are not addressed in the Victorian government's proposed safety regulations for gas extraction.
Hundreds of studies around the world have confirmed that air, soil, water and food chain pollution from the gas and petroleum industries cause cancers, pre-term births, congenital disorders, and immune diseases in children.
The latest evidence about harmful chemical emissions from gas and petroleum extraction proves that new and disused gas and oil sites continue to emit indestructible carcinogenic chemicals known as PFAS. The gas and oil industries are dependent on PFAS chemicals for drilling fluids, foaming agents, rock fracturing, well blockage removal, chemical driven gas production, pumping and viscosity operations, and oil and gas storage.
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For health and environmental reasons, cities such as San Francisco have mandated replacement of old gas appliances with electric ones.
Gas extraction is an uneconomic short-term industry that has contaminated water, air, and soils in Australia and globally. New gas extraction endangers aquifers we need for long term food production and drinking water.
Gas will be bad for the economy and particularly the farming economy. International taxes on the comparatively small amount of gas to be extracted in Victoria will effectively be subsidised by farm products which bring in billions of dollars to Victoria each year.
Methane gas has about eighty-five times the ability to warm the planet than Co2 from burning coal. Politicians beware: We will cook faster globally with each new fossil fuel plant that is approved.
Gillian Blair, Secretary,Sustainable Agriculture & Communities Alliance
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