International Youth Day.

FRIDAY, August 12 marks International Youth Day.

As the State Member for Gippsland South, I am often blessed with the opportunity to visit our local schools and meet first-hand the wonderful future generations that will one day be our leaders.

We are fortunate to be surrounded by youth achieving great things across Gippsland. Whether its academic, artistic, sporting, entrepreneurial or in some other manner, it seems that every day I hear of another Gippsland youth achieving outstanding success.

While it may be a little cliché, there is undoubtedly truth in the saying that the children are our future and Gippsland South has a truly bright future.

I look forward to seeing the great leaders and champions that will no doubt continue to emerge from Gippsland South in the coming years.

Danny O’Brien

Member for Gippsland South

Monarch Butterfly

On July 21, 2022 the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) placed the migratory Monarch Butterfly on its red list of threatened species and classified it as endangered.

The IUCN listing applies to the migratory subspecies of the Monarch Butterfly in the United States. From my observations in Australia, particularly of latter years, it certainly appears that Monarch numbers are seriously declining .

Monarchs are a magnificent butterfly and all that is possible should be done to ensure their continued existence.

Climate change has been listed as one of the major causes of declining Monarch populations worldwide. Once again the damage caused by climate change rears its ugly head.

Brian Measday

Myrtle Bank, South Australia

Duck the law

WHY does the Victorian government imagine that duck hunters will follow rules and regulations?

These are people who kill and maim defenceless animals just for the fun of it, and they largely ignore hunting laws.

An independent review of the Game Management Authority found “commonplace and widespread noncompliance with hunting laws” including the shooting of endangered and legally protected species.

Now, freedom of information documents have shown that illegal lead ammunition, banned in Victoria since 2001, is still being used to shoot ducks.

Wedge Tailed Eagles and other protected species are at risk of being paralysed by lead poisoning, with lead levels in ducks “well above” food safety standards at four Victorian duck-hunting waterways.

Animals wounded with lead shot, or later eating the carcasses of ducks who died in agony from their injuries, will suffer a horrific death, becoming paralysed, unable to eat, and slowly dying of starvation.

It’s time that this barbaric hunt was banned once and for all in Victoria, as it has been in other states.

Desmond Bellamy

PETA Australia

Australia on cusp of regional revolution

IN media comments recently, the Business Council of Australia said that in order to achieve lasting nation-changing reform, we had to ‘unleash the regions’.

These are interesting comments given that in years past, the common perception of regions was that they were laggards – sleepy hollows where time stands still and blowflies outnumber people.

Chair of Regional Capitals Australia Cr Daniel Moloney says Australia is on the cusp of a regional revolution. Photo: Contributed

They were not considered industrial giants, innovation hubs or our nation’s economic epicentre. Until now.

We know that Australia’s economy was safeguarded from the impacts of the global pandemic due to our strong and resilient regional economies.

While capital cities struggled with ongoing lockdowns, our regions kept supply chains moving and export trade buzzing.

People voted with their feet, drawn by the lifestyle, affordability and career options in regional cities. This caused an uptake in migration from capital cities to regional Australia by over 16 per cent in the March quarter of 2022.

Data from the Regional Australia Institute indicates that there were nearly 85,000 job vacancies in regional Australia in April this year, up nearly 25 per cent compared to the previous year.

In years past Australia rode on the sheep’s back and now we are surfing the wave of regional diversity.

Regional hubs are powerhouses of industry, tapping into their unique natural assets and playing to their strengths to value-add locally and trade globally.

For example, mining and agriculture thrive in the Geraldton and Kalgoorlie-Boulder regions in Western Australia while the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales has strong capabilities in food processing, manufacturing and tourism.

The Latrobe area of Victoria has a wealth of opportunities in energy, manufacturing and food production.

The Hunter is a supply chain and logistics hub, while the Orana region of New South Wales is a destination for mining and agriculture.

It’s an exciting time for innovation and investment, with regional Australia ripe with opportunity and diversity.

Policy makers are starting to realise the untapped potential of regional investment, and the long-term benefits for national productivity.

In September, our nation’s leading minds will come together for a Jobs and Skills Summit, aiming to deliver a consensus on wages, economic growth and productivity.

Given that two thirds of our export earnings are derived from regional Australia, the regions must be front and centre to this debate.

We know that the growth of regional Australia is inextricably linked to the performance of the national accounts.

Unfortunately, housing, skills, and lack of investment in critical infrastructure continue to hamper regional cities.

With Australia teetering on the economic brink, time is of the essence.

All levels of government must work together to deliver a strong regionalisation agenda, with deliberate and targeted measures for sustainable change.

Daniel Moloney

Chair of Regional Capitals Australia

Neighbourhood Houses need certainty in funding

VICTORIA’S 401 Neighbourhood Houses play a vital role in helping locals access everything from food hampers through to training and education courses.

They are a meeting point and a connection to the community, yet the future of as many as 27 Neighbourhood Houses is now in jeopardy due to funding uncertainty from the Andrews Labor Government.

This is despite a concerted effort three years ago by the sector – supported by The Nationals – to secure additional funding of $5.4 million annually for the Neighbourhood House Coordination Program (NHCP).

This funding was used for core service provision purposes, with staff placed on permanent contracts and programs established using what people believed was secure, long-term funding.

To their shock, Victoria’s Neighbourhood Houses were later told the funding was a once-off, meaning programs may be axed, some staff may no longer have an ongoing position and could mean the closure of 12 rural Neighbourhood Houses.

Those Neighbourhood Houses that wouldn’t be forced to close could still be in a precarious situation, being unable to attract staff and having existing services impacted.

Ongoing funding would mean certainty for every Neighbourhood House, and the diverse community so dependent on each one of them, that has been short-changed by Labor.

Neighbourhood houses deliver an incredible range of services in the community, but it’s also the social aspect of going to a neighbourhood house, they are a vital cog in our community.

Remember this November how the Andrews Labor Government turned its back on our communities as the cost of living continues to skyrocket.

Only a Liberal and Nationals Government will ensure our Neighbourhood Houses receive the long-term funding they need.

Peter Walsh

Leader of The Nationals