Letters to the editor

June 07, 2018

Help redistribute food to those in need

FROM today Echuca-Moama residents can help wage a war against hunger this winter by joining local efforts in raising funds to deliver meals to people in need.

With as many as one in eight Australians living below the poverty line, shoppers can show their support to people doing it tough by purchasing a $2 donation card at Coles for SecondBite – a national charity which redistributes surplus fresh food to Australians in need.

For every $2 donated at Coles, SecondBite can provide the equivalent of 10 nutritious meals to disadvantaged Australians.

All funds raised will help SecondBite to pay for its ongoing operating expenses such as fuel, transport and refrigeration so it can deliver the food donated by Coles.

Celebrity chefs Curtis Stone and Matt Preston recently united to call on Australians to support the Coles Winter Appeal for SecondBite.

“An alarming number of people in our community cannot afford nutritious food to have regular meals,” Stone said.

“By raising funds through the Winter Appeal, we hope we can help get more meals on the table for people facing hardship.”

In addition to the $2 fundraising cards, we have joined forces with Unilever for the first time to support SecondBite by donating 1 million cups of soup.

For every pack of Continental soup purchased at our supermarkets between today and July 3, Unilever has pledged to donate one cup of Continental soup to SecondBite until the total donations equal 1 million cups.

I am encouraging locals to support the important cause this winter.

We’re proud to donate food to community groups through our partnership with SecondBite. But, we want to do more to support the increasing number of Aussies who are struggling to put food on the table, which is why we have launched a Winter Appeal for SecondBite.

Across Australia, Coles has now donated the equivalent of 55 million meals to people in need since partnering with SecondBite in 2011.

Mark O’Connor

Coles Victorian general manager

Make the basin plan about our communities

OUR community, local government and business groups have joined forces in an effort to be heard, when water ministers meet in Canberra this week.

We believe politicians have made the Murray Darling Basin reforms “all about them” in recent months and want to remind them it’s all about our communities, many of which have been adversely impacted as a direct result of these reforms.

We have written to Ministers Neville, Blair and Littleproud imploring them to improve the transparency of the Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council (MinCo) in its decisions around the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Our actions follow a water forum organised by Speak Up two months ago which called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to make the basin plan about our communities and travel with Water Ministers to our towns to talk about how it is actually being implemented.

Our letter to the Water Ministers highlights the importance of “openness and accountability” and wants a guarantee all geographically relevant information is provided to MinCo and BOC (Basin Officials Committee) members, by working with locals.

As an important, but simple step to achieving this we have requested the following changes to future MinCo meetings be adopted at next week’s MinCo meeting:

• Agenda for MinCo meetings be released two weeks prior to MinCo meeting

• Position of Ministers in relation to the agenda items be released prior to MinCo

• Increase frequency of MinCo meetings held in Basin Communities, with no more than one meeting a year in Canberra

• MinCo meetings include a minimum of a half day tour of local relevant sites

• At least an hour set aside for all Ministers to answer questions from the public

Our letter also says: “Allowing constructive discussions through exposure to proposed agenda items prior to MinCo can only be a positive step forward to finding positions that produce the best results for differing regions within the Basin.

“We want to work constructively with MinCo and Basin Officials Committee in resolving the many outstanding local issues to the implementation of the Basin Plan.”

The Speak Up Campaign is organising a bus trip to Canberra to coincide with the next MinCo meeting on Friday, June 8 and is hoping its representatives will be given an opportunity to talk with Ministers.

The letter has been signed by the Speak Up Campaign Inc., Edward River Council, Griffith Business Chamber, Upper Goulburn Catchment Association, Murray River Action Group, Murray River Council and Murray Valley Private Diverters

‘Country roads need overhaul, that’s what they’re getting’

THE problem in northern Victoria isn’t that we don’t have enough roads.

It’s that the roads aren’t in good enough condition for what they’re now carrying.

The big takeaways from VicRoads’ community discussions last year, from Bendigo to Sea Lake and Mildura, was the optimism around tourism, agriculture and the need to make it easier to travel to the region.

VicRoads has also been going through the 300 plus submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Country Roads, and listening to the frank and important feedback.

Our country roads need an overhaul and that’s what they’re now getting, with a $333 million investment in the State Budget to rebuild and repair regional roads and a new dedicated team to deliver it.

From a new pedestrian path at Riddells Creek, upgrades to Lancefield roads and the Calder Highway, roads will be made safer and fit for purpose – with $108 million of improvements in the northern region alone.

A new authority for regional roads – to be based in Ballarat with a presence in regional centres across the state – will help address decades of underinvestment and inattention, overseeing road maintenance across the state.

The need to work much more closely with local government has also been heard, with a $100 million fund to rebuild and resurface local essential roads.

It’s not only about more money though.

Championing the needs of country Victoria, Regional Roads Victoria give our communities and businesses a direct line of communications to VicRoads, and a clear focus on making the network safe and fit for a growing tourism, agribusiness and innovation economy.

People in the north of the state deserve roads they can rely on, and this investment continues the rebuild to make sure our roads are safer and more reliable than before.

Brian Westley

VicRoads regional director (Northern)

More than $1000 raised at BMT

SOUTHERN Cross Care Moama’s fundraising committee raised $1060.80 at a Biggest Morning Tea in May.

Thank you to our sponsors Moama Bowling Club, Echuca Meat, Wax On Echuca, Hannah Street Hair Design, Bidvest, Lynn Jefferson and Bella Acapella for your assistance and support.

The money raised will be split between Cancer Council NSW and Echuca Regional Health’s oncology department.

Linda Ormando

Southern Cross Care Moama fundrasing committee secretary

‘Harm me not’

‘YE WHO would pass by and would raise your hand against me, hearken ere you harm me.

I am the heat of your hearth on the cold winter nights; the friendly shade screening you from the summer sun

And my fruits ae refreshing draughts quenching your thirst as you journey on

I am the beam that holds your home, the board of your table, the bed on which you lie, and the timber which builds your boat

I am the handle of your hoe, the door of your house, the wood of your cradle.

And, when the time comes, the soft shell of your coffin.

I am the bread of kindness, and the flower of beauty.

Ye who pass by listen to my prayer – harm me not.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was published in the Riverine Herald on October 12, 2001 and was sent in recently by Echuca’s Jennafer Whelan. A resident at Wharparilla Lodge sent the letter to her and Jennafer felt it was timely as she fights to save the tree on the corner of Campaspe Espl and Warren St, Echuca.

Let’s balance the ledger

CONGRATULATIONS to the NSW Irrigators Council for standing up to the bias of ABC reporting against the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. This has been obvious, and frustrating, for quite some time and it had reached a point where action was needed.

The NSWIC has pointed out that the ABC has taken a pro-environmental lobby position on reporting Basin Plan matters a total of seven times in the past 12 months.

So here is a list of seven possible stories which the ABC might like to follow-up to balance the ledger:

1. The massive community impact of the Basin Plan. Independent reports estimate the economic damage at $500 million and 1000 jobs a year in the Goulburn Valley, and nearly $200 million and 700 jobs in the Murray Valley (including 46 per cent decline in population and over 60 percent in ag related workforce in the Wakool region alone).

2. Starving people in developing countries who could benefit from increased Australian rice production, also highlighting that our rice growers are among the most efficient in the world.

3. The proliferation of European carp from our Basin Plan’s flawed ‘just add water’ philosophy.

4. A history documentary on the Coorong and Lower Lakes, in particular the fact this was once an estuarine system yet we are trying to find a freshwater solution to its woes (which defies logic, as does the environmental push to return the system to its ‘traditional’ natural state using fresh water).

5. Flooding – the dire consequences of trying to force 80,000 megalitres a day over the South Australian border, as reinforced recently by Water Minister David Littleproud. An unbiased investigation will prove to the ABC and its listeners that the water simply will not fit down the system.

6. Flawed science – an increasing number of independent reports (including CSIRO) and ecologists are questioning the science on which the Basin Plan was drafted.

7. The 2007 Water Act – which predicated the Basin Plan. The ABC should have no trouble finding law experts who will tell them this is a terrible piece of legislation. Some claim it is possibly the worst legislation ever written in Australia. Their investigations will likely find the 2007 Water Act, and the Basin Plan, needs to be re-written.

And if the ABC wants an eighth story, how about the uncanny ability of South Australia to demand more water from the Murray for its environment, while at the same time approving massive waterfront housing developments using water from – you guessed it – the Murray.

If the ABC would like further background and information to follow up on these stories, please contact the Speak Up Campaign Inc via the website

Yours faithfully

Shelley Scoullar

On Behalf

Speak Up Campaign

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