Letters to the editor

January 04, 2018

Drugs crisis ruining lives

New figures show more and more Victorians are falling victim to the drugs scourge, with Victoria recording the highest rate of heroin use in Australia.

The Andrews Labor Government thinks a drug injecting room in Richmond will fix Victoria’s drugs crisis, but this does nothing to address problems with drug crime and access to rehabilitation.

A drug injecting room will not stop the flood of heroin coming into Victoria and will not help the many Victorians desperate to get off the drug, but having to wait up to a year for a rehab bed.

Because of Labor’s lack of action we are now in the grips of a drugs crisis that is ruining lives and families.

Victorians have a choice at the next election.

More of the same Labor neglect or a Liberal-Nationals government focused on tackling the drug epidemic with targeted education, better access to drug treatment and bringing down the drug kingpins that prey on vulnerable people in our community.

— Emma Kealy, Shadow Minister for Mental Health

Website won’t fix roads

Country Victorians don’t need a website to tell us regional and rural roads have been seriously neglected by the Andrews Government.

Labor recently announced a ‘‘bold plan’’ for regional roads, but instead of spending money fixing country roads, Labor has spent money building a website and named it ‘‘country roads’’.

The only ‘‘bold’’ part of Labor’s plan is its absolute determination to ignore the needs of our country communities.

A website won’t fill a pothole, and it doesn’t fix dangerous road edges.

Daniel Andrews is prepared to spend more than $1.3billion not building a road in Melbourne, but he won’t invest in fixing our country roads.

Daniel Andrews is a premier for Melbourne, not for all Victorians.

At the next election, country Victorians will have a choice.

More of Labor’s neglect or a Liberal Nationals government that will bring spending back to country Victoria.

— Peter Walsh, Leader of The Nationals, Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisaton

Sport vital for kids

Rural and regional children face many challenges as they make the journey through their education, sport, work and social lives.

Travel, time, money and sacrifice are all a part of their, and their parents’, daily lives.

The Benalla Young Sportspersons Trust has been invaluable in helping my family meet the costs of having two young soccer players compete in the National Premier League.

Keeping children active throughout their teens has many benefits and they’re not only physical; kids who play sport learn valuable character-building lessons, make lifelong friendships, develop good self-esteem and have better confidence in themselves.

They also learn to work as part a team, and occasionally shine on their own, and also what it’s like to be depended upon — even on your worst day, you never let your teammates down.

They learn dedication and discipline as they share and deal with the highs and lows of winning and losing, then ultimately how to improve their skills for the next match.

All these lessons learned through sport easily flow to everyday life and help guide young people to becoming healthy, happy capable adults.

Many thanks to Benalla Young Sportspersons Trust, who’ve helped us keep the wheels turning into 2018.

— Rachael Spencer

Bridget does us proud

I wish to congratulate Senator Bridget McKenzie on being elected deputy leader of the Federal National Party and Sport, Rural Health and Regional Communications Minister.

Bridget’s success is a classic ‘‘local girl does good’’ story.

Bridget hails from Alexandra in north-east Victoria where her family owned McKenzie Bus Lines.

The family then moved to Benalla and had the Barkly St Dairy for many years.

Bridget was educated in Benalla and at Tintern Grammar School.

She then went to university, became a PE and mathematics teacher, married and had four children whom she raised to a large extent as a single parent.

Wanting to give back to rural Australia, Bridget put her hand up for the National Party — initially standing in the Lower House electorate of McMillan to assist the Liberal candidate get across the line.

Bridget then stood for and was elected as a Senator.

Her strength of character and ability has been shown through her initiation and conduct of the Senate Enquiry into the Barnawartha Saleyards and other meat industry matters.

Bridget is a passionate, capable advocate for rural Victoria and is a good person.

Well done Bridget, I and many others are very proud of you.

— Bill Sykes, Benalla

Support appreciated

On behalf of the Target UnitingCare Christmas Appeal we would like to thank the people of Benalla and district for their generous support of this appeal.

Your donations of gifts and money have made Christmas a lot happier for many families.

Benalla is a generous and caring community as we know with the success of our appeal and the community’s support of other appeals at Christmas time.

We would also like to praise Arna, Liam and Lynne and the staff of Benalla Target for the enthusiastic support that they have given this appeal.

They have again been a pleasure to work with.

The Target team also take such pride in the amount of gifts and money donated.

Congratulations and thank you for your generous support.

— Bronwyn and Colin Pitty, Deidre Clarke

Toilets come up trumps

Travelling throughout Australia has its pleasures, however, when it comes to public toilets it is often a hit and miss exercise.

Road trips enable drivers and passengers to ‘‘spend a penny’’ at conveniences of varying states of upkeep and cleanliness, ranging from the out-and-out-filthy to something just like home.

On Thursday, December 28, we decided to skip the hustle and bustle of the Euroa service centre and detour off the Hume to Benalla.

Lunch at the Bouwmeesters Cafe Bakery was simple, and a couple of freshly made sandwiches, coffee and a bakery cake were a pleasant change to the queues and seemingly endless wait at the so-called ‘‘fast food’’ outlet.

However, our experience in your city was made even better when, as nature called, we discovered the public toilets just off the main street.

We both commented afterwards how clean, tidy and inviting these facilities were.

Not a scrap of paper in sight, the taps all worked and the hand dyers were modern and operational.

To the Benalla Rural City Council, congratulations... your toilets came up smelling like roses!

— Allan Gibson, NSW

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