Letters to the editor

August 09, 2017

Bon voyage! Set sail on the SS American in the Anything Goes show.

Wonderful production

Congratulations to the Benalla Theatre Company for its excellent production of Anything Goes.

Everything was wonderful, particularly the costumes.

The lead characters were superb.

A fantastic night. I encourage everyone to go.

— Judy Amery, Benalla

Entertainment at its best

How lucky we are in Benalla to have the Benalla Theatre Company to entertain us?

It would be hard to imagine that any theatre company could put on a better production of Anything goes than the Benalla Theatre Company. A wonderful three hours of entertainment.

— Don Dunnachie True Benalla icon

Congratulations to Millers Department store, owners and staff, cnr Bridge and Carrier Sts.

It celebrated its 126th birthday this week — with a ‘‘sale’’ to celebrate.

Millers store opened it doors in 1891.

This store has supported charities and the community all these years, and Stolz’ store has given the same support over these years as well.

— A ratepayer

Make it bigger and better

I strongly urge Benalla Rural City Council to make more of the aerodrome.

It is our future. The fast train doesn’t seem to be appearing on the horizon. So we need the gliding club at the airport.

Perhaps if it was called the ‘‘Benalla Wary Dunlop Airport and Gliding Club’’ council could then get funding to make it even bigger and better to promote Benalla and boost local business even more into the future.

And cut the rates not increase them.

— Concerned ratepayer

Let’s sell the airport

With all the misinformation we receive about the Benalla airport, wouldn’t it be better if this council sold the airport to say (Richard Branson) who has the money to further develop the entire area?

The Benalla Rural City Council could then buy an extra grader and a well-needed larger street sweeper, you only have to drive around the town and note that a lot of gutters need to be swept and drains cleaned. Think about it you councillors?

— Gus Cornelissen

Unnecessary costs?

I am writing in response to the dropping of a leaflet in the letter box titled ‘‘Council News, Edition 6, 2017’’ and features an article by Benalla Mayor Don Firth.

Cr Firth states the airport cost nearly $78000 last financial year.

Does that include the one-off cost of the replacement fence from the museum to the gliding club?

The fence incorporates a sliding electric gate, which is supposed to enhance security with the use of a key pad, or such like, to open and close it.

That gate is still chained open, yet it was installed before the World Comps. What did all that (lack of) security cost?

And what about the strange giant carport-like structure outside the toilet block.

There was a claim it was for the flying doctor, but when asked, both pilots and ground ambulance, they just looked blank.

It is of no use to them at all, so what is it for? And the cost? To build it the old fence had to be moved and bent around it; you can see the marks of it in the ground. More costs.

And then there was the airport review. At what cost? What happened? Nothing. I recall exactly the same thing — an airport review — some 20-plus years ago.

What happened then? Nothing. Costs? Should ask the airport operators what they want.

Perhaps, big-picture-wise, the airport should be seen as a cash generator and treated as such, to encourage more flying and businesses rather than changing things to the negative.

— Darcy Hogan, Tatong

Serious responsibility

The Benalla Saints Sports Club is pleased that discrimination allegations levelled at one of its players has been resolved.

The allegation was made during a recent match against Mooroopna at the Benalla Showgrounds.

Following the sharing of information between both clubs, the incident had been resolved without the need for further intervention.

The Benalla Saints Sports Club takes seriously its responsibility to ensure a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for all players, officials and supporters.

The club does not tolerate any form of discrimination against others regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexual preference or disability.

I also want to remind members of the community, not associated with the club but who attend games that the club also expects them to barrack appropriately.

We encourage members of the community to come along and support our club on game day, however, we will not tolerate any anti-social behaviour directed towards opposition players or officials.

— Graham Pollard, president, Benalla Saints Sports Club

Alarming statistics

Homeless Persons Week runs from August 7 to 13.

Currently there are more than 105000 homeless people in Australia, 44000 of which are under the age of 25.

Homeless Persons Week aims to raise awareness for those doing it tough.

One in five homeless people seeking assistance are being turned away from vital, emergency accommodation services.

In modern Australia, these statistics are alarming and there is a lot of work to be done to fix this.

Homeless Persons week raises awareness of these figures in the hopes of gaining support for this significant issue.

People often only see homelessness as those sleeping and begging on the streets, but we need to ensure that our invisible homeless people are taken care of.

Homelessness is all around us.

People who are forced to couch surf, sleep in cars or those who just don’t have a home to return to every night are the invisible homeless.

It is often convenient for us to forget or ignore them, but these people need our help.

Now in its fourth year, our campaign #laceitup aims to bring awareness and funds to fight homelessness.

Purchasing these laces and wearing them during homeless persons week reminds us that taking off our shoes is a luxury.

Many homeless young people need to leave their shoes on in case they have to flee for safety and to stop thieves from taking their shoes.

This Homeless Persons Week I implore everyone to stop and consider not only homeless Australians sleeping rough on the streets, but to think about how we can also help our invisible homeless.

Homelessness is a nationwide issue that affects everyone and only by working together can we tackle this concerning issue.

— Father Chris Riley, chief executive officer and founder of Youth Off The Streets

HECS debt concern

A reason given for the proposed increase in university fees is the impact of unpaid HECS debts on the budget bottom line.

Perhaps the adverse impact of unpaid HECS would be minimised, if the private training businesses, which are owned by job agencies, were prevented from training unemployed people for non-existent jobs?

A young relative of mine was referred to a job agency by Centrelink.

They very soon recommended that she should be trained by them, to become a social worker and fund her course by incurring a HECS debt.

Even if she gained a qualification, her qualification might have had no professional standing.

Providing services for the unemployed seems to be our only growth industry.

Surely this is an example of our economy feeding off itself to the sole benefit of the friends of the conservatives?

— Al

Roads funding needed

Since New Year’s Day, 87 lives have been lost on Victoria’s country roads.

Our rural road networks are crumbling and urgently need an immediate funding injection to improve safety.

Instead, Daniel Andrews has slashed the regional roads budget by more than $360million since coming to office in 2014.

Every time I speak to regional councils about their concerns, the return of the former Liberal Nationals government’s Country Roads and Bridges Program tops their wish lists.

A recent report by the Municipal Association of Victoria found regional councils are struggling to maintain — let alone upgrade — their roads.

The Victorian Auditor-General also recently reported deterioration of Victoria’s country road network poses a ‘‘growing risk to public safety’’.

Both reports call on Daniel Andrews to urgently fund maintenance works.

The experts have spoken, but the Andrews Labor Government is failing to act.

— Peter Walsh Leader of The Nationals Member for Murray Plains

Help protect industry

The Andrews Labor Government’s proposed reforms to the greyhound racing industry could force many law-abiding Victorians out of an industry they love.

I urge Victorian greyhound owners and trainers to provide feedback on Daniel Andrews’ draft Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds before submissions close on Monday, August 14.

Since the draft reforms were published, many owners, trainers and clubs have contacted me to vent their frustration at what they see as Labor’s attempt to ban the industry by stealth.

Some of the concerns I have heard include fencing requirements that will cost tens of thousands of dollars to comply with, down to the need to change dogs’ toys weekly.

Those in the industry caught doing the wrong thing should not only be banned from the industry, but also receive a punitive punishment that makes an example of them to others who ever contemplate doing the wrong thing.

But these draft reforms appear to be overreach by a Labor Government ignoring the fact this could force Victorians out of business.

— Tim Bull Shadow Minister for Racing Member for Gippsland East

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