Letters to the editor

October 21, 2017

Issue not dying

Media reports are suggesting voters in the seats of Ovens Valley, Euroa and Eildon, held respectively by Tim McCurdy, Stephanie Ryan and Cindy McLeish, back Daniel Andrews’ euthanasia bill.

This is based on a poll conducted by Andrew Denton’s Go Gentle Australia group.

A bit like asking Dracula to survey the district on the need for more blood banks.

Similar public support was suggested for Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying bill in the United Kingdom in 2015 but it dropped dramatically to just 43 per cent when arguments against were heard.

The bill was defeated 330 to 118. Public attitudes change dramatically once some of the key practical implications of assisted suicide are considered.

Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital specialist physician, Dr Karen Hitchcock is scathing of Denton’s boast of having ‘‘researched the issue for eight months’’, when the country is ‘‘full of people who have spent decades seriously considering the complex issues around euthanasia ... I have cared for hundreds of dying patients and no one has ever died screaming or begging me to kill them ... I have been criticised for using the word ‘kill’, but if the real act is so offensive we should stop advocating that doctors do it. When the genie is out of the bottle, will MPs McCurdy, Ryan and McLeish be there to replace it? That’s the problem. For us anyhow.

—Denise M. Cameron


Pro Life Victoria

Growing the state

Only a government with little interest in country communities would describe massive population growth in Melbourne as a win for regional Victoria.

Most of our state’s new residents move to Melbourne each year, but the Andrews Labor Government appears to think this is part of a trend of ‘‘strong growth in Victoria’s regional centres’’.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows in just 12 months Greater Melbourne grew by more than 126000 people while regional Victoria grew by just 20106.

The ABS data also found 29 of our state’s 32 slowest growing LGAs are in regional Victoria, growing by less than one per cent in the 12 months to June 30, 2016.

This isn’t good enough and the Liberal Nationals understand it’s time to do something different.

With the Liberal Nationals’ Population Policy Taskforce, I have been speaking to country communities about their ideas to grow the whole state, not just Melbourne.

To make sure all parts of government work together towards the same goal of growing all of Victoria, in Government we would have a Minister for Decentralisation.

The Andrews Labor Government has ignored the needs of country communities for too long, remember this is the Government that wasted more than $1.3billion not building a road in Melbourne.

The Premier for Melbourne has no plan to manage Victoria’s population growth. Only the Liberal Nationals are working on a plan for the future of the whole state.

—Danny O’Brien

chair, Victorian Population Policy Taskforce and Member for Gippsland South

Right to farm, right

Most farmers understand that the right to farm inherently also means the right to farm in a way that doesn’t overly impact their neighbours, the community, nor the environment.

Right to farm doesn’t mean the contaminated run-off from one farm can be allowed to pollute the paddocks, dams and waterways of another.

It doesn’t mean the dust from one is so on-going as to make a neighbour’s rainwater undrinkable.

That the constant odour from accumulated dung can be so strong that washing can’t be dried outside and barbecues are out of the question.

That pest animals are allowed to proliferate to destroy crops, orchards and native trees.

That property values go down.

The vast majority of farmers understands this and operate within self-imposed bounds because they want to be good neighbours, they want to contribute to their communities and they want to sustain the environment in which they live.

But some don’t give a hoot except in pursuit of the dollar.

As with the case of limiting hoon drivers’ impacts on other drivers and the community, regulations are required to protect all those using their right to farm, right, against those who disregard their obligations.

The Victorian Government’s proposed land use planning reforms for sustainable animal industries undermine rather than support a sustainable cattle industry by opening the doors for quick-buck, inconsiderate, hoon behaviour trashing the land and the clean green reputation maintained by those who exercise their right to farm, right. All farmers should read the proposed regulations and ask if an unlimited number of cattle being hand fed in a small paddock within 100m of their house is something they want to experience.

—John Walsh, Yarck

Another blunder?

It appears to me Benalla Rural City Council’s article ‘Explaining Hangar Leases’ (Benalla Ensign October 11) further highlights the problems inherent in the system while BRCC attempts to justify yet another blunder.

If the airport leases have not been reviewed since 2005, whose fault is that?

BRCC received $1.2million of State/Federal funding for the airport yet I feel that, just like the rubbish tip and adventure playground, this project has been completely mismanaged by council.

BRCC’s article went off on a tangent, seemingly determined to attack the Benalla Gliding Club.

If council was trying to explain its view of the leasing saga why mention the unrelated trailer parking area, clubhouse or mowing contract?

Was this an attempt to sway public opinion against a not-for-profit, tourist attraction?

I’m amazed council has allowed the shire to deteriorate to the point it is demanding sporting organisations help bail it out of debt.

—Jonathan McAliece

Benalla Gliding Club of Victoria

B&DJFL update

Following a number of media reports regarding the current status of the Benalla and District Junior Football League (B&DJFL) in recent weeks, it is important to provide an update to keep the community informed.

The AFL North East Border 2016-2018 Regional Review was commissioned to establish recommendations regarding the future structure for football competitions, management and governance within the region.

Last month, the final recommendations relevant to the Wangaratta District Junior Football League were presented and adopted by the AFL NEB Commission.

Recommendation number 3 relates specifically to the future of the B&DJFL and states:

For 2018 and beyond, the Benalla DJFL fully integrate into the Wangaratta DJFL with compulsory under-12, under-14 and under-16 teams under a single affiliated model.

The review recommendation effectively ends our long association with the former VCFL, and now AFL Victoria, as an affiliated league.

It will also mean, from next season, that our current under-12 Development Competition will cease and teams will be required to compete in the Wangaratta District Junior Football League.

The B&DJFL understands and appreciates that some people within the community are concerned about this change.

Under its rules, AFL Regional Commissions can undertake reviews and implement recommendations as they see fit.

A request by the B&DJFL to seek an extension to submit a notice of appeal against the recommendation to AFL Victoria’s appeals tribunal was rejected last week.

The league has now effectively exhausted all its options under the AFL’s rules.

A working group has been established to implement the transition of the under-12 competition to Wangaratta and agree on the structure of the new organisation which will manage the Benalla Auskick Centre and the under-12, under-14 and under-16 teams in the Wangaratta League. More information will be provided as this work progresses.

There is a lot to consider and we are committed to ensuring that we make the best of the decision which has been made by the AFL.

We will also endeavour to ensure that the AFL delivers on its commitment to maximise participation outcomes for the Benalla and District community.

We will continue to offer boys and girls aged from five to 16 of all abilities, the opportunity to have fun and learn the game of Australian Rules Football.

On November 14 the B&DJFL will conduct its annual general meeting. If you would like to ensure the future of junior football in Benalla, nominate for the committee and get involved.

—Benalla and District Junior Football League Committee

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