Letters to the editor

October 13, 2017

United on issues that matter

Victoria’s country communities are at the heart of the Liberal Nationals plan to decentralise population growth in our state.

The nonsense claim from Labor MPs that the regional development portfolio has been cut is nothing more than hysterical scaremongering.

The Andrews Labor Government is desperate to divert attention from the fact it has failed to plan for the future population of our state.

Unlike Labor, the Liberal Nationals have been consulting with country communities, stakeholders and local government across Victoria to develop a population plan to grow our whole state not just Melbourne.

Decentralising our population by creating good jobs that will support more small business opportunities in our regional centres is central to the Liberal Nationals plan for regional development.

Our plan will also include building the roads and transport infrastructure to better connect our cities and towns as well as providing better schools and local health care.

Under Labor, country roads have been left to crumble, and skyrocketing energy costs and other cost-of-living pressures are making it harder to do business and causing job losses across regional Victoria.

Victorians will have a clear choice at the next election.

A choice between the Liberal Nationals team that is focused and united on the issues that matter like jobs, cost of living and regional connectivity, or a Labor administration preoccupied with factional fights and rorting the taxpayer.

— Peter Walsh, Leader of The Nationals, Shadow Minister for Decentralisation.

Mental health affects everyone

World Mental Health Day was held yesterday on October 10 and I encourage everyone — whether you have a lived experience of mental illness or not — to think about mental health and wellbeing of yourself and those around you.

The journey to positive mental health is not a journey we should walk alone.

I have been working with disadvantaged young people for more than 40 years and each person I work with has their own unique story and journey to share.

I encourage them to connect with trusted family and friends to share their journey towards better mental health, and I am asking you to do the same.

Mental health issues affect everyone.

Whether or not you yourself are experiencing mental illness there is always someone around you who is.

As a community we need to look out for each other and that begins with talking.

From my experience on dealing with mental health I know that starting a conversation can be the biggest turning point for vulnerable young people.

At Youth Off The Streets, we have dedicated youth and case workers who assist young people on a daily basis.

The unfortunate truth is that 14 per cent of young Australians aged four to 17 have mental health or behavioural problems and it is imperative for us to step in and support our vulnerable kids at this time of crucial growth.

Taking the time to discuss these issues, how they are affecting you and how you are overcoming them can set the path for not only your growth, but for others to follow in the journey of self-care.

In the spirit of World Mental Health Day, I urge you to support each other and in particular support our young people in starting conversations.

Please visit for more information.

— Father Chris Riley, CEO and Founder of Youth Off The Streets

Just another day at the office.

After witnessing the response to a motor vehicle accident on the Midland Hwy on Thursday, October 5, and seeing the performance from our emergency services, one must commend these people for their professional and compassionate response.

Police officers responded first immediately accessing and taking control of the situation to avoid further escalation, paramedics arrived quickly delivering medical services to the injured with genuine compassion.

CFA and SES vehicles arrived, manned by volunteers from our local community, all obviously highly skilled, conducting themselves in a professional manner, and should feel proud of the services they provide.

These four different organisations should take pride in their skills and the teamwork they have developed together.

One feels at ease that if ever they were in this situation a first-class response is only around the corner.

— Warren Smith

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