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Letters to the editor

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March 01, 2018

National Party Bridge

AS WE have now struggled through the holiday period traffic over the bridge – one day it took one hour to go from High St to Moama – I am suggesting the bridge should be renamed just for the period from now through to when the new bridge is operational.

The new name should be the National Party Bridge so when jammed up over Easter we can remember with fondness, how influential and effective the National Party was in looking after the needs of residents in the old electorate of Rodney.

Thirty years in power and the Nats could not get the bridge into the starting stalls.

One term of a Labor Government, which gets fewer votes in this part of the world than there will be planks in the new structure; and they have the bridge up and away.

Ian Hetherington

Moama

Common sense needed during a time of political chaos

THE last few weeks have confirmed what we knew all along - the basin plan has very little to do with environments and communities.

It’s mostly about dirty politics and grandstanding.

Politicians, advisors and bureaucrats, State and Federal, are ruthlessly jockeying for attention at the expense of people in regional Australian communities.

Water is being priced out of many agricultural commodities and then arbitrarily removed from communities, causing further instability and disruption.

The notion of delivering this impractical plan in full and on time at all costs will do just that…cost us all!

What did we actually do to deserve this?

People living and working in irrigated areas have turned themselves inside out to try and accommodate the political process involved with the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Regional communities and industries did everything they possibly could to meet community, consumer and political expectations. This has not been recognised.

It is well past time to recalibrate and find practical solutions to this murky water mess.

We would all benefit from a 10-year moratorium on water recovery in the Murray Darling Basin.

Over the past ten years we have suffered a highly disruptive revolving door of water bureaucrats and politicians.

Our hard-working rural people and their local environments need a well-deserved break.

Whole regions are being left ‘hanging in the balance’ and environments and communities like those on the Lower Darling ‘hanging out to dry’.

During an amnesty we would need a comprehensive Federal Royal Commission which takes in all aspects of water management in all state and federal departments.

The Royal Commission should comprise a water audit, evaluate environmental conditions, challenge the status quo of the lower lakes, and interact with industry.

All recent Federal and State water inquiry recommendations should be taken into account, including the nearly completed NSW State Government inquiry into the augmentation of water.

There are common, practical themes emerging from all those inquiries.

The promised socio economic and environmental benefits have not been adequately addressed or delivered.

They’re slowly strangling the goose that laid the golden egg.

We need common sense to be utilised to navigate us all out of this political chaos.

It’s time that opportunistic politicians and green bureaucrats were taken out of the conversation and suitably qualified people, including those in rural communities with skin in the game, were valued and listened to.

Helen Dalton, Rankins Springs

No comment to ensure the ‘proper administration of justice’

I WRITE with regard to your article Closed court’s secret decision bail shock as child sex offender walks (February 21, Riverine Herald).

Your reporter was advised that the Magistrates’ Court was unable to comment as the matter was still before the court.

This response was not included in the story, rather you chose to characterise it as the Chief Magistrate "refusing" to comment.

The court does not routinely comment on matters before it to ensure the proper administration of justice and to not prejudice the outcome.

The court was closed to avoid causing undue distress or embarrassment to the complainant.

It is overstating the situation to say the accused is “free to roam the twin towns”.

First, the grant of bail was subject to strict conditions including reporting to police and a curfew at home. Second, a family violence intervention order was made with restrictive conditions. Obeying its conditions was made a condition of the grant of bail so that disobedience could lead to the revocation of bail.

The reference to 2015 comments ignores the letter I wrote to your paper, published on 12 August, and pointing out that the magistrate’s comments were taken out of context.

Finally, it is incorrect to call the accused a “child sex offender” as he has not been found guilty of any offence. There is a presumption of innocence applicable to all charged with criminal offences.

Peter Lauritsen

Chief Magistrate

Magistrates’ Court of Victoria

Governments have sacrificed Wakool

I READ with dismay the destruction of our Wakool community in statistics released last week.

They showed we have just under 50 per cent less people and just over 50 per cent fewer in the workforce compared to 2001.

But the great tragedy is that, as recent events have shown, they are seen only as statistics and not as real people with real livelihoods.

I cannot believe that in 21st century Australia it is acceptable for governments to sacrifice rural communities such as Wakool.

My community has been decimated by the Murray-Darling Basin Plan; a plan that governments promised would deliver a ‘triple bottom line’ of social, economic and environmental outcomes. Yet in South Australia they get off relatively scot-free, refusing to undertake infrastructure works on the barrages, consider returning the ‘end of system’ to its traditional estuarine state, or any other solution that may help us achieve a more balanced plan.

Now, because of the SA influence, Labor and the Greens want to inflict more pain on communities like Wakool by demanding the additional 450GL ‘upwater’, despite a promise written in legislation by then Water Minister Tony Burke that this would only be delivered if there were no negative social and economic impacts. For political gain he is now prepared to sacrifice more rural communities.

Is it any wonder Australians continue to lose faith in their political representation.

Finally, a message to every Australian: Please remember, the dramatic decline in population and jobs as shown in last week’s reports are not merely statistics. They are real people, real neighbours and real friends in once vibrant communities like my Wakool, whose livelihoods are being sacrificed for political gain, not environmental gain. That’s a bitter pill to swallow.

Gary Hare,

Barham

People who damage tracks should be fined

REGARDING the river track damage on Wharparilla Drive, I sympathise with Mr Millar about the damage to tracks on his property.

Surely restrictions like lockable gates can be put in place to stop this.

During the dry season they could be open for people to enjoy the boat ramp and the river. The gates could be locked when the tracks are rain affected.

The river tracks at the northern end of Wharparilla Drive have the same damage caused by the same irresponsible drivers.

I suggest a fine of $1000 per wheel for offenders, as is the case on selected NSW roads when they’re rain affected.

With today’s technology, placing cameras on tracks would surely reduce this damage and save government departments thousands of dollars.

This would leave the river to be enjoyed by genuine lovers of the environment.

Bruce O’Neale, Echuca

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