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Letters to the editor

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February 15, 2018

I’m alive thanks to Pev crew and ambos

I WOULD like to somehow give the crew of the Pevensey and your local ambos some recognition of their service.

Below is what they did for me and I would like to publicly thank them.

I can not thank them enough on the last cruise on Sunday, February 4.

I suffered a stroke on their boat and due to their fantastic efforts and the ambos I am still alive and fully recovered.

At the same time the assistance to my wife was fantastic — putting a mobility scooter in the car returning it to the caravan park and then bringing her to the hospital, even to the point one of them even gave her his own phone number in case she needed anything.

Once again thank you to the three of them and by the way the cruise was nice — would recomend it to everyone.

Alan and Robyn Bower

Echuca

Hands off ANZAC Day

THIS Sub-Branch views with grave concern the recently-reported discussions by the Victorian Government to alter the focus of both ANZAC and Remembrance Days to include acknowledgement of the sacrifices made by indigenous Australians during the “frontier wars”.

Those two days mark unique events in Australia’s history during which all who served, including indigenous service personnel, are honoured and commemorated.

Neither of those dates have anything to do with uniquely indigenous issues.

Altering the focus of the commemoration on these two days would detract from the intent of the commemorations.

There may well be justification for acknowledgement of the rights of indigenous Australians and commemoration of those who died defending those rights but neither ANZAC nor Remembrance Days are suitable for that purpose.

Combining two very different issues of focus would be confusing, divisive and detrimental to both causes.

There are many who would support both causes but would not support a combination on the one day.

A day to honour those indigenous Australians should be focussed on reconciliation and harmony, not division.

Those who have served in the defence of Australian territory and our way of life served to preserve our freedom of speech amongst other values.

We acknowledge that that freedom of speech entitles discussion on this contentious issue.

We do not resile from that right but we urge respect for preservation of the traditional values associated with ANZAC and Remembrance Days.

We reject totally any concept that these special days should even be considered for change.

The Australian democratic political system allows many points of view but the overriding principle of government should be unity, not division.

We urge that principle to be maintained.

John Glover, Rochester RSL President

‘Liberal Nationals committed to working with border communities’

VICTORIA’S state borders with South Australia and NSW are more than just lines on a map for the communities that live there.

It means another set of rules, added cost and more red tape to business and everyday life.

Our tradespeople need two separate licences to work on both sides of the border, while our transport operators and farmers need two different permits if they want to cross the state line.

Emergency services also struggle to share information, making it harder than it should be for them to help our family and friends in times of need.

Despite a clear need to solve these problems, all Daniel Andrews has done is announce a business case to tell him whether or not the problems are real.

Unlike Daniel Andrews, the Liberal Nationals have listened to our border communities and we’ve made a solid commitment to establish a Cross Border Commissioner.

The Liberal Nationals will also ensure the Commissioner is based in Regional Victoria, again in contrast to city-centric Labor who struggle to see past Melbourne’s tram tracks.

It’s time for action to resolve our cross border issues with South Australia and NSW and the Liberal Nationals are committed to working with border communities to find and fix the problems.

Peter Walsh

Leader of The Nationals

Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation

Member for Murray Plains

More consultation needed

I AM compelled to comment on the Campaspe Shire’s arbitrary introduction of a $70 fee for a Fire Permit.

I recognise the shire’s right to introduce a permit fee, my comments concern the process of introducing the fee.

There was no consultation with the community, the Municipal Fire Prevention Planning Committee or the CFA.

This seems very strange as the council has recently appointed a community engagement manager. Is this a token appointment with no power?

One of the reasons given for the fee was that there has been a change in CFA requirements for issuing fire permits and there now needed to be a physical inspection of the permit site.

On enquiry with the CFA I found that there has been no change to the permit requirements in the past two years, also that council has the same indemnity as CFA personnel under the CFA act.

I also discovered that a review of the fire permit system has been with the Municipal Association of Victoria and the CFA for the past two years, however no action has eventuated.

It seems unusual to introduce a fee for a service in the middle of the fire season.

Normal practice would be to discuss this at budget time and introduce any result and fee at the start of the fire season.

When the council introduces something that the community disagrees with the immediate reaction is to blame the councillors for the lack of insight, ability or whatever comes to mind.

We should remember that much of the councillor’s decision-making is dependant on research and recommendations of the staff.

Therefore, more scrutiny of their advice along with increased consultation with the public would ensure a more acceptable outcome.

Former Campaspe Shire councillor

Murray McDonald

We should be grateful to health system

THROUGH your paper I would like to thank all those involved in the treatment and recovery of my recent illness.

Firstly at St Vincent’s Public — the surgeons, doctors, nurses and staff were excellent.

Secondly at Echuca Regional Health rehab, what a wonderful group of dedicated people – first class.

Thirdly the GEM programme and district nursing completes the trifecta. Our health system is one that we should be all grateful for.

Russell Evans,

Echuca

Our river needs certainty

We, the people of the Murray-Darling Basin, the people who live in the basin, work in the basin and care for the basin, call on our State and Federal politicians to put politics aside and focus on outcomes to give our river systems certainty for a sustainable future.

The Murray-Darling Basin Plan was written in a way to allow adaptive management, with enough flexibility to utilise new knowledge and to adjust operational management of our rivers to get better ecological outcomes from held environmental water while eventually providing certainty for the river and river communities.

This is what was written into the original Plan by Tony Burke in 2012 and it is what the Ministerial Council worked towards and finally agreed on in 2017.

While not everyone in the Basin likes the Plan, everyone has been working towards achieving it and delivering a balanced plan.

Today that hangs in the balance and we are concerned that we are on the verge of seeing the efforts of many thrown away compromising future environmental outcomes.

Both the Northern Basin Review (NBR) and the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) have been designed to require changes to system management to ensure environmental outcomes can be maximised.

In the north that means developing rules to ensure environmental water is protected through the system. Known as “toolkit” measures, the states have prepared a schedule to the basin plan Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) to be implemented once the amendment is passed – but it is dependent on the amendment.

In the south the proposed adjustment projects include rules to enable environmental water to be used at multiple sites and consultation to address physical and regulatory impediments (constraints) to delivering higher connective flows.

With these changes, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder can effectively manage the water portfolio to maximise outcomes and make a real difference to improving the ecological sustainability of our rivers.

Without these changes, all the basin plan will achieve is a volume of water that cannot be effectively delivered. Billions of tax-payer dollars spent on a number.

Don’t let our faith be destroyed.

Don’t risk changes that support a sustainable basin.

Don’t risk environmental outcomes.

Don’t disallow the NBR or the SDLAM.

Tony Mahar, National Farmers Federation

Steve Whan, National Irrigators’ Council

Michael Murray, Cotton Australia

Stuart Brown, Bega

Tim Napier, Border Rivers Food and Fibre

Mark McKenzie, NSW Irrigators’ Council

Iva Quarisa, Murrumbidgee Private Irrigators

Gabrielle Coupland, Southern Riverina Irrigators

Well done Riv

YOUR Southern 80 coverage was great on the weekend.

I live on the river, have done so for 36 years, and also agree with Andrew Johnston in his article on Friday about giving the competition boats clear practice time.

The rest have plenty of other time for their free fun.

I often see that as soon as a boat tries to practice some idiot in a tinny is there.

Fiona Larcombe,

Moama

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