Letters to the editor

March 23, 2018

The 2018 Wall to Wall art has again been hailed a success, with many new pieces and lots of locals and visitors attending.

Sheer misuse of money

I continue to listen to the rhetoric of governments and can’t stay quiet any more.

I believe governments are elected to take care of our nation and its people, but current governments are not upholding this care.

Our governments are full of self-promoting, self-centred, self-absorbed, faux celebrities who want nothing more than to be seen lending a helping hand when in actuality are working in purely their own best interests.

I find myself appalled at politicians’ behaviour at Question Time and deem it an insult to the people they are elected to represent.

The self-centred talk about things that don’t promote value for the community, focus on who can talk the loudest and show downright rudeness without actually addressing any problems.

I would never let my HSC students watch Question Time as I would never tolerate the arrogance and self-absorption demonstrated by our elected members.

We have a government who will not act in the best interests of our people unless they can publicly, again and again, show how caring and generous they are.

It’s not generosity when you get more out of it.

Our government has come to only thinking about the community only when asked to by celebrities and only responding when it appeases their calls.

When the defining factor in finding funds is for Rhianna to tweet about it, we need to reconsider who we have in charge of our policies.

But it isn’t the issue of self-absorption that I am most livid about, the sheer misuse of money by our state and federal governments astounds me.

I can understand the need for new infrastructure, but I don’t understand 2.5billion dollars being spent on tearing down two working stadiums only to build two more.

At this cost, how does this help anyone but those in charge of construction?

My organisation, Youth Off The Streets will survive without increased government funding.

Last year we opened two new schools for disadvantaged young people, one on the central coast of NSW, and another in south east Sydney.

I pledged an extra $500000 towards preventing domestic violence in our communities and with the help of Lindsay Fox I decked out a semi-trailer to make youth services more accessible in rural areas.

I will continue to expand in this coming year.

Just recently we opened our first outreach in Melbourne to combat what the government is calling ‘‘gang violence’’.

I want our government to take positive action.

Step into to lives of the people I work with, the homeless, the disadvantaged, and the vulnerable, see what their everyday life is.

Feel their struggles — as I do — understand the disconnects we have in our communities, and try to fix them.

I have worked with politicians for countless years and although there are many politicians that continue to astonish me with their blatant self-investment it is important to note that there are numerous others who do great work in our communities, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hold our politicians accountable for their poor behaviour.

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

Andrews fails to stand up

Duck season opening weekend brings thousands of Victorian hunters and their families into regional Victoria every year.

But the huge boost they provide to our regional economies is under threat because the Andrews Labor Government continues to push its anti-hunting agenda.

Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford appear to be undermining the credibility of the Game Management Authority (GMA) by refusing to adequately support it.

Strong enforcement requires a multi-agency response to ensure the small number of people who choose to break the rules face the full force of the law.

Instead, Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford are using the GMA as a scapegoat to explain Labor’s failure to stand up for Victoria’s more than 130000 recreational and professional hunters.

Duck hunting is a legitimate recreational activity, but Victorian hunters are being penalised by a Labor Government desperate to keep the Greens on side.

— Peter Walsh, Leader of The Nationals.

Let’s not keep it quiet...

Advertising in the media to stop bullying does not only exist among teenagers and our school children.

National Day Of Action Against Bullying and Violence on Friday, March 16, should not only focus on children, but on adults, too.

Sure our children need to be protected against bullies in schools and out of schools.

Bullying is a health issue for all victims, a community concern.

Adult bullies in work places, may it be in the office, factories, professional quarters, supermarket workers, health care workers, Victoria police even at men’s sheds where management in such work places does nothing to help in stamping out bullying.

In worse cases of bullying; victims children and adults, many have committed suicide, even to the extent in a work place, a bullied victim finally broke and stabbed to death the person who was bullying him each day.

Managements should take bullying on, as a serious issue to investigate it, bullying will only get worse, only if you allow it, too, take responsibility for your work place. Please help, stamp out bullying.

— Roman Kaminski, Benalla

Is this the end of Wall to Wall?

The 2018 Wall to Wall art has again been hailed a success, with many new pieces and lots of locals and visitors attending.

Paul Higgins of ABC Weather had a sample displayed on screen one night.

However, was it as successful as might be seen on the surface?

Many questions have been raised about the process gone into organising this year’s event and there seems to be many questions to be asked.

For example:

Why did the former members of the committee resign to be replaced by new members? Yes, a turnover is good, but not all at one time. Experience helps guide the new who may be full of great ideas.

Why was Bridge Street East closed from Smyth St to Carrier St, when it is a Benalla CBD event? Why not close Bridge Street East to Mair St to provide a street fair effect?

Why do our food venues close early or not open to service visitors?

Why were the food vans deployed to Fawckner Dve and not available to everyone in the main street or the Denny St car park area? Not good for visitors and they may not want to return.

Why was their a need to have security guards at the entrance to The Shed? Expecting terrorists?

Why were up and coming local artists not included? This is a real opportunity to further develop their skills under direction/encouragement of experienced and creative artists.

Where was all the money that was obtained from government and council spent?

Why was the date changed to the long weekend when it would clash with other major events in the area, such as Winton?

This event has been a great attraction to Benalla, and is needed to maintain liveability; but it is in real danger of folding if it becomes the domain of a few elite.

— Paul F Kenny, Benalla

Political dust toxic to Benalla

As a farmer I am used to a lot of ‘‘bull dust’’ flying around.

It fills the pot holes of our unsealed roads and makes driving a very dusty business.

The political type, however, that is swirling up from the Labor Party is particularly toxic to the Benalla district.

Really it is time to clear the air.

What are the facts:

●The premier does not need the approval of the Victorian Parliament to tick the planning approval for the West Gate Tunnel to continue. The Premier has said as much. He is telling Melbourne that the project is going ahead no matter what, but in Benalla Labor is whipping up dust and fear by saying recent votes in Parliament are putting jobs at risk.

●The local issue, that concerns me because it affects our area is of course the question of when and will CPB Contractors and John Holland sign the contract officially for the concrete pre-cast factory for Benalla. I grew up during the construction of the Snowy and I remember well the respect the state and federal governments showed the huge construction companies like Theiss Brothers.

Rest assured Joe Barr — the CEO of John Holland Construction Company — and his board shall sign the local contract, when it is favourable for them to sign.

No amount of political hot air shall hurry the process.

It is also worth noting that CPB and John Holland made it clear at a recent Benalla forum that the concrete plant is being constructed to provide projects across Australia well into the future.

Not just this project.

The responsibility of opposition is to ensure responsible governance and spending of taxpayer money by the government of the day.

The West Gate Tunnel project was organised behind closed doors between Labor and Transurban and will slug CityLink users with huge toll increases for the next 20 years.

The Coalition I believe has every right to push back for more information and more scrutiny over such an enormous spend.

By the way has anybody heard of when it is going to rain?

We could do with a shower before the November state elections.

— Maureen Cottam

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