'Life-long community servant deserves recognition'
I took the opportunity in state parliament to pay tribute to Corangamite Shire mayor Ruth Gstrein for her 20 years of service on council.
Cr Gstrein was recently recognised at the Municipal Association of Victoria annual conference for her 20 years of dedication and received the Councillor Service Award.
I served on council with Cr Gstrein, and I can attest to her great contribution to the shire and people of Corangamite. She has worked diligently over 20 years to ensure good governance for all constituents. As a Central Ward Councillor, Ruth was first elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020. She served as Mayor, between 2007 and 2009 and then again from 2020. She was re-elected in 2022 to serve her sixth term.
Ruth also served on the Municipal Association of Victoria board as a director for 10 years, including as Deputy President (Rural).
Cr Gstrein is a life-long servant to the people of Corangamite and local government. I appreciate the time I served on council with Ruth and I congratulate her on her award and wish her well in the future
Bev McArthur, Member for Western Victoria
'Urgently reduce emissions'
I don't mind Barnaby Joyce calling wind and solar farms "factories", as long as they get the job done. The problem lies with the fact that Mr Joyce and others inside the Coalition appear to deny that we have to change our ways and that all countries need to urgently reduce emissions.
Just because you can't see the effects of global warming now, doesn't mean they're not going to happen. Mr. Littleproud thinks we should scrap the 2030 targets: "We don't believe the big hand of government needs to do anything beyond creating the environment." Under that scenario we could say a firm farewell to net zero by 2050, now considered by scientists to be totally inadequate to achieve safe global temperatures, but considered by Mr Joyce to be "utterly untenable". This from a politician in a party that denied and delayed for a decade. Yes it is expensive; so is subsidising fossil fuels, so are nuclear submarines etc.
Sure it may be in the interests of the Coalition to stir up division between different parts of the country. But where will that get us? Certainly nowhere in the race to decarbonise.
Fiona Colin, Malvern East
'Climate action needed'
I too feel both empathy and concern as communities argue about the impacts of local renewable energy projects. Most disheartening and disappointing, however, is the recent advent of members of the Coalition using community uncertainty over climate solutions as a weapon to progress their own political agenda ("Environment being used as a pawn in a sickening game", The Standard, October 30).
The science is clear: climate change is the biggest threat to our precious environment bar none. And fossil fuels are responsible for over 75 per cent of the greenhouse gases causing climate change. Ending the burning of these dinosaur fuels as fast as possible is the solution. Local environment protection and community consultation are vital, as are jobs for impacted workers, but the end game is having renewable energy flooding coal, oil and gas out of the system.
Time is running out. We must work together to build the clean energy that will protect our environment for all the years to come.
Amy Hiller, Kew
'Answer blowing in the wind'
Thank you to Sophia Walter for her insightful comments about the offshore wind-turbine dispute, The Standard, October 30. Opposition Leader Peter Dutton in a sudden and unexpected show of concern for our natural environment, asks why wind-turbine proponents would "seek to destroy the natural environment to try and save the planet." Yet this very environment is being threatened by global warming.
Rising ocean temperatures pose a real risk to our marine life. The food sources of the Blue Whale are already depleted due to ocean warming. Coastal habitats and fisheries are also under threat. Of course, all energy projects including coal, gas or renewables, should be done with proper community consultation.
But I have yet to see Dutton and his cohorts oppose fossil fuel developments with the same zealotry.
Anne O'Hara, Wanniassa, ACT
'Hold your horses'
Brace yourself for the interest rate hike that stops a nation. With that famous first Tuesday in November looming, all four of the big banks predict the RBA will again lift interest rates.
No doubt the Melbourne Cup will be a great race, but the champagne corks won't be popping as loudly if the news is as bad as predicted.
You might be struggling to pay your rent, pay your mortgage, book in with a GP, buy your groceries, or fill up your car.
You might just want to revel in a day watching the races. But, when interest rates rise, Victorians suffer on so many fronts. Your mortgage is even tougher to pay off.
And then there is the issue of Labor's debt. Rising rates also hit taxpayers hard, as we all grapple with paying it off.
Victorians have been paying more than $10.5 million a day to service interest payments on Labor's record debt.
That $10.5 million could buy 52 new ambulances, hire 112 maternity nurses, build a breast cancer centre, or resurface more than 10 kilometres of road - every day. With predictions Labor's debt will double by 2028, the daily interest bill will only get worse.
If and when this happens, there will be less of your hard-earned taxes to invest in our broken health system, our crumbling roads, or other vital projects and services. That level of debt crushes the government's ability to invest in what really matters.
And Labor's only solution is to tax you, your schools, your doctors, and your homes. This tired Labor government has run out of ideas and money, so keep that helmet on as Labor flogs a dead horse through to the next election.
Peter Walsh MP, Leader of The Nationals
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