Letters to the editor

February 22, 2018

Contracts should be honoured

The Benalla Ensign, February 14, in regard to the proposed concrete manufacturing facility, noted, ‘‘the factory, which will be operated by the John Holland group, will supply the Westgate Tunnel project as its first contract’’.

It is not unreasonable to expect that the John Holland Group already has a contract or a guarantee that they will get the contract.

Ms Ryan, might be the locawl member, but it could be argued that, given Miss Ryan’s position within the National Party and the extra workload involved, this would compromise her effectiveness in representing Benalla.

It would seem, Jaclyn Symes, the State Member for Northern Victoria has been more effective in this regard.

In other words, when it comes to the ALP and LNP, for the voters of Benalla, ‘‘six of one, a half dozen of the other’’.

Given the billions that it cost Victorians for Daniel Andrews to cancel the contracts entered into by the previous LNP when he took power, if he lost the next election, it would be beyond belief for an incoming LNP government to try the same stunt.

Contracts should be honoured on the basis that something with an increased debt, is better than nothing with an increased debt.

It could be argued, that the major political parties rely on verbal diarrhoea to cover their actual agenda and in reality, voters in the next election will be faced with the frying pan or the fire.

Concrete would provide insulation against both.

Benalla badly needs this plant.

It is not impossible for the ALP and the LNP to get together and work together to get this plant built and give John Holland the necessary guarantees to make this plant viable.

For heaven’s sake, do something positive for people other than yourselves for a change.

Seventy-five per cent of Victorians might die from shock if you actually co-operated on something, but hey, take the risk.

— P Carter, Benalla

Forest must be protected

For about four years, the communities of the Strathbogie Ranges have politely and patiently sought dialogue with all relevant authorities with regard to the protection of the remaining vestiges of the Strathbogie State Forest.

Right now, Vicforests is embarking on the process of logging another 60ha of high conservation value forest on Barjarg Rd, close to Mt Strathbogie.

Surveys carried out in December by ecologists from the Arthur Rylah Institute, found the highest ever concentration of critically endangered Greater Gliders in Victoria.

In addition, Powerful Owls have been detected in this area, which should lead to the establishment of a 500ha Powerful Owl Management Area.

Despite large numbers of phone calls and emails to the office of the Environment Minister (Lily D’Ambrosio) during the past weeks, no response has been forthcoming, from even her staff.

Our frustration welled up to the point, where we as a community of law-abiding citizens, had no other recourse than to draw a line in the sand, and block access to the proposed logging coupe last Thursday, to prevent machinery being transported to the site.

Yes, we were technically breaking the law, but Vicforests has not adhered to the law of this state either, as they have failed to carry out an independent environment assessment of the forest (despite having given assurances they would — but they knew this would prevent them logging, just as it did at Mirboo North).

The Environment Department has not adhered to the law by not giving these creatures protection under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.

We seek the Premier’s urgent intervention in this issue, and request that he direct his Environment Minister to instruct Vicforests to cease its operation, until a truly independent and exhaustive assessment has been completed for the Strathbogie State Forest.

— Peter and Christine Holmes,

Lima East

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