The stories about the Peterborough Curdies River fish kills, blue-green algae, dead cows and horrified tourists and locals will be ignored by all levels of government, environmental regulators and most farmers.
Since European colonists arrived in south-west Victoria, our rivers have been treated as sewers and rubbish-dumping places. Nothing has changed since then.
Farmers continue to pour massive volumes of fertiliser and cow manure into our creeks and rivers.
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Every supposedly responsible body turns a blind eye. Authorities say they have education and support programs to encourage farmers to change their practices. Well, after 30 years of education, most farmers have not changed.
These creeks and rivers are not private rubbish tips - they are are our natural heritage, belonging to all of us and to all future generations. While government and ineffective regulators do almost nothing, our rivers will continue to die along with all our unique Australian native wildlife that depends on them.
Bruce Campbell, Warrnambool
This government is only interested in the glamour of new tourism infrastructure and developments. Where is the long-term monies in monitoring the health of the Curdies River? Is the Peterborough Sewage Plant involved in the recent fish deaths? Is there nutrient leaching into the river?
Long-term routine monitoring of the river would have identified problems and they could have been fixed. But the Peterborough sewage plant is not alone. The sewage plant at Port Campbell is at capacity and has been band-aided for years. So where is all the sewage from these new developments going to go?
Lynda Avery, Peterborough
I write this open letter in anger and disbelief that an entire river system is being ignored and left for dead by waterway managers that continue to ignore the issue and are taking zero action while a waterway is dying.
For decades the Curdies River in south-west Victoria has been basically ignored by waterways managers.
The catchment lays in an area of heavy agricultural use through dairy farming and long-utilised river flats as grazing and production land.
Historically, the river was regarded as the unhealthiest river catchment within the south-west/Otway area and flagged that immediate works to rehabilitate the system must be undertaken.
This rehabilitation has not occurred, and the system is now being poisoned by huge repetitive blue-green algae outbreaks over the past several years.
Each year, outbreaks are growing stronger and lasting longer. These outbreaks are driven by rainfall events that are healthy for the area, yet are seeing large nutrient loads washed directly into the river.
Currently, the system has fish, cows, birds and aquatic life dying for the vast majority of its estuary reaches and is getting dramatically worse by the day. Immediate action is needed! Entire populations of fish are being wiped out.
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Catchment Health Assessments completed have been numerous and they continually recognise immediate action was needed. The catchment suffers from poor or non-existent streamside riparian zone and low cover, especially in the upper catchment. Action has never been taken and the responsible management organisations must be held immediately accountable in every aspect of their negligence!
Applying an Ecological Risk Assessment process to investigate nutrient enrichment in the Curdies River Catchment; A basis for future monitoring and management, was published in June 2005 by the CCMA (Corangamite Catchment Management Authority) and the Department of Primary Industries (now known as DELWP).
The report specifically delivered key recommendations that have been ignored and left unactioned. Further studies since this time have continued to highlight the lack of action!
Monitoring levels of key nutrients like Phosphorus FOR 15 YEARS PRIOR TO THE 2005 REPORT saw concentration levels surpass the trigger points set by the State Environmental Protection Policy (SEPP) for immediate action and nothing was done. The EPA and the CCMA have been negligent! Raw dairy farm runoff goes straight into the river!
This 2005 report was used to formulate the 2008 Estuary Management Plan that clearly highlighted action that was of immediate and highest importance, that was not completed or actioned once again!
In 2017, the Curdies River Estuary Management Plan clearly highlighted the existing problems from previous studies and no action had still been taken. Of specific note was reference to the Corangamite Waterway Strategy 2014-2022 and key management activities that are required. Yet again, no action has been taken!
Every study and report on the Curdies is a repetitive regurgitation of the same issues recognised decades ago that have had zero action implemented or actioned. From the EPA river health score reports, to the waterway manager reports by CCMA and DEPI/DELWP, the river and communities around it continue to be destroyed by lack of action.
I call on you to immediately action a rehabilitation program for the catchment, inflows, nutrient runoff and improved land use. Plus, the parties responsible for this catchment murder must be held to account. Currently, they are all ignoring the plea of the people.
We will not be ignored any longer and this will be front of mind for the local community and the huge tourism industry surrounding the catchment area.
Andrew Smith, Warrnambool
I must write to congratulate the Timboon Fire Brigade in their fundraising for this year's Good Friday Appeal, collecting $37,000-plus, just below Warrnambool.
I had the privilege of being asked by the late Les Gunn to join him in raising money for the appeal in 1978 - we raised a whopping $1000 that year and over the next decade Les co-opted local fire brigades and community groups to join in, culminating in this year's magnificent total.
All involved: congratulations, well done.
Bob Taylor, Ex OIC Timboon Police, Altona North
Recently, I read in The Standard the Anzac Day mid-morning march had been cancelled "due to COVID".
A more feeble reason for destroying an icon I cannot imagine. 'Record crowds at AFL'. We see restrictions for financially viable endeavours being not only lifted but openly exploited.
Anzac Day is not an organisation, business or event that may be shut down. Anzac Day is our lineage, our very reason for being here, the very core of our society.
Along with so many of our traditions and cultures, Anzac Day is being treated as a poor cousin. On the day that we fail to remember them in every way possible and with every means at our disposal, will spell defeat.
I implore you to retain our traditions so all cultures may share our wonderful history as beautiful and tragic as it is.
Rod Bawden, Purnim West
Re "Ex-mayor slams 'public funding' of private Princetown venture" (The Standard, April 20).
It is a ridiculous justification that jobs and growth out-trump the risks to human life and infrastructure, to allow building such a high-density tourism facility on the Gellibrand River flood plain.
It is also ridiculous to think that by merely upgrading a road it will make it safe for a high-density tourist resort, 300-seat restaurant, fast food, activity centre, accommodation precinct for hundreds etc, all to be built on a site that floods and has only one access which is over a major river that also floods.
The site is within the Gellibrand estuary which floods frequently from the river basin and from ocean storm surge. When these events combine, the resulting floods are dramatic and spectacular, but since the estuary is only occupied by wildlife, the damages are manageable and it's not big news.
However, if a resort gets built there the consequences could be catastrophic, with potential loss of life also. This would be a disaster for Australian tourism on its iconic Great Ocean Road. Pouring millions of public money into this development will not make it safe.
Kim Morton, Princetown
Who is the real Alex Dyson? Are you independent or are you a Climate 200-endorsed candidate backed by the billionaire Simon Holmes à Court? Where do you stand on a carbon tax, the live export industry, the current tax cap, industry, manufacturing, agriculture, interest rates, jobs, energy costs, the fuel excise cut, China's emissions and Australia's defence?
Driving around Wannon, I was astonished to see your stickers plastered on a gas-guzzling SUV. What? No electric car? Or is your only policy 'do as I say, not as I do?' On your website you say you "demand honesty and transparency in government".
Well Alex, practice what you preach, you need to be honest and transparent with the voters of Wannon!
James Taylor, Warrnambool branch Liberal Party member, 969 Ellerslie-Panmure Road, Framlingham
The coalition government would have me believe they are the ones I should vote for if I am seeking good economic management.
This is a government that continues to budget for a number of things I find ludicrous. Billions of dollars have already been spent. We could save huge sums by discontinuing the two below.
Detaining people on Nauru and providing short-term protection visas.
Our immigration system is backlogged, inefficient, lacking in transparency and hugely expensive.
Our navy continues turning boats of people seeking asylum away.
There is no justification for offshore detention or Temporary Protection Visas. If individuals are shown to need protection, let's grant it - and move on.
Katherine Stewart, Warrnambool
I would like to give a shoutout to the healthcare management and staff from South West Healthcare who established and run the Warrnambool Vaccination Centre in Merri Street.
I've had all four of my COVID vaccinations at the centre, including the winter booster last week, and feel motivated to express my appreciation for the care, respect and dedication provided for each and every one.
Each injection was given with precision, meaning not only was the needle hardly felt, I've had no side-effects, such as the sore arm so many seem to experience.
These are experienced and proficient needle-givers! We are so fortunate to have such professional and dedicated health professionals to care for us here in the south-west.
Marion Truman, Port Fairy
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