Moyne Shire councillor Jim Doukas should explain how he can properly represent Moyne ratepayers with the majority already fully vaccinated against COVID when he isn't.
He might ponder his vaccination refusal possibly infecting others with fatal consequences for some. It's also widely reported that even the fully vaccinated are not totally protected from infection and serious consequences. He should get vaccinated or resign.
Tony Delaney, Warrnambool
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I am reaching out today as I endeavour to share the story of the VICSWIM Summer Kidz Program. With lessons missed for almost two years because of COVID, addressing the issue of water safety and aquatic skills has become a matter of urgency.
Victorian parents are desperately worried their children are falling behind in their swimming abilities, and the government-funded VICSWIM program aims to relieve this concern for Victorian families.
The program aims to reach every LGA in Victoria to make swimming affordable and accessible to all children across the state.
This summer, swimming lessons are more important than ever, and to keep water-related fatalities low, we need to educate our children.
It would be immensely appreciated if your publication could share this article, so parents across the region are aware of the program and how they can access affordable lessons over the first three weeks of summer.
The intensive style of the 30-minute daily lessons makes it an extremely effective method to catch-up on so much lost time.
Isabella Serrano, Sports Community
As the Glasgow climate talks continue and the pre-election noise increases, you could forgive Australians for not realising there is already a great deal of solid and consistent work happening to reduce emissions, especially driven by the agriculture sector.
Agriculture is a uniquely critical part of the solution because it can both reduce emissions and take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, while most other industries can only work to minimise their footprint.
Projects in the land sector over the past decade have delivered millions of tonnes of abatement, all while enhancing on-farm productivity.
Conservative estimates place the reinvestment into agriculture from carbon farming at about $0.5 billion. That's money flowing back into farms around the country, allowing investment into infrastructure and technology, and sustaining businesses and jobs through periods of drought.
This investment will only grow given Australian carbon credits are in high demand thanks to our robust system that's regulated and independently verified.
The same can't be said for every aspect of the economy. Many of Australia's key industries face a bumpy road on the path to net zero. There will be radical changes to their operations, and the path forward for some of them isn't currently clear.
But farmers are in an enviable position. All they have to do is put the environment on their balance sheet and the country's net zero goals will be closer within reach.
James Schultz, co-founder and CEO of GreenCollar
I'm writing to inform readers the Victorian government's Sustaining Creative Workers initiative is now open for applications, providing critical support to Victoria's independent creative sector when they need it most.
Western Victoria is home to many artists and creative workers whose careers, businesses and livelihoods have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty it has caused.
I encourage local creatives, collectives and micro-businesses to apply for support through this program, which is designed to help them get back on track and ready to work as Victoria reopens.
The $5 million program is open to applicants working in all creative disciplines - including dancers, musicians, writers, visual artists, fashion designers and filmmakers.
It's also open to workers who support creative activity such as technicians and producers.
Creative practitioners, including sole traders and freelancers, are eligible for funding of up to $5000, with collectives, micro-organisations and businesses eligible for up to $10,000.
Funding is available to meet the needs of creative workers - whether that's to plan or research new projects, adapt existing work, explore new ways to connect with audiences or upskill with professional development.
Applications are open until 5pm on November 22.
Gayle Tierney, Western Victoria MP
Diversification of Victoria's global trade relationships will be key to unlocking the true potential of our state's food and fibre sector.
This year, our farmers have been blessed with strong seasonal conditions that now see many looking forward to a bumper harvest.
It's a year of great opportunity. At least it should be - if we play our cards right.
Victoria's a global leader in agriculture with an enviable reputation for consistently producing high-quality, clean, green produce. But disruptions in global market access - particularly from our largest export partner, China - continue to throw a spanner in the works for Victorian producers.
China's long been our country's most important trade partner, with sales worth $4.75 billion in 2019- 20. But the recent series of punitive tariffs and export hurdles have raised serious questions on the need to better protect our producers from global market disruptions.
The Nationals have already recognised this with a pledge to strengthen Victoria's economic standing with diversification into new markets. If elected to government in 2022, we'll use Victoria's trade agency Global Victoria to tap into emerging economies throughout south-east Asia, India and North Africa, with initiatives that showcase the tremendous food and fibre our state has to offer.
It's a year of great opportunity. At least it should be - if we play our cards right.- Victorian Nationals leader Peter Walsh
There's no silver bullet solution, but loading all our eggs back into the same basket that got us into this mess will only serve to hold our agribusinesses back.
Yet, this is exactly what the Andrews Labor Government has done with last month's launch of 'Vic House', a new trade hub located in Shanghai.
It's perhaps no wonder when Daniel Andrews more than halved efforts to develop new strategies to maintain and grow export opportunities in this year's state budget.
It follows the premier's disastrous decision to sign Victoria up to the Belt and Road Deal with China - against the advice of the Commonwealth Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Diversification of our global markets will be crucial to securing our state's place as a key player on the global stage.
Proactively seeking new opportunities to grow our export potential will ensure Victoria's high-quality food and fibre make its way onto even more tables and homes around the world.
Peter Walsh, Victorian Nationals leader
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