Letters to the Editor – 26 September 2023

Sale Food Support calls for more consultation

THE Sale Food Support Inc is a registered food charity, and we operate from the Derek Amos Community Hub in Raymond Street Sale.

We currently pay a nominal rent per week to the Derek Amos Hub management which enables us to store and supply food to the more disadvantaged families and people within the shire.

Our group has had recent notice (through the licensee Dr Jamie Hogan) that the Department of Transport and Planning will be evicting all community tenants in the hub building in the coming months, as Wellington Shire Council are in negotiation to purchase the site stating they require vacant possession as a condition of the sale.

Throughout this process, Wellington Shire Council have shown no consideration towards the services we provide from the hub to their own residents. We help 30 plus Wellington families and individuals a week that seek food to make ends meet in this current economic climate, and this number has been steadily increasing. The licensee of the hub was advised by WSC in writing not to write to or contact our councillors. Surely as residents and community groups we have the right to do that, and our elected public officials should at least respond. The silence has been deafening.

As a not-for-profit community group with dedicated volunteers that support residents of the Wellington Shire, one would have thought that some sort of consultation and communication with the tenants would have been forthcoming.

We have literally been ignored by council with absolutely no offers of assistance in seeking an alternate or affordable site to relocate to.

The shire has displayed no moral obligation to any of the community groups.

Where does this leave us?

If this proposal and sale goes ahead as council seem to want it to happen, we cannot afford a commercial property and may have to cease operating to the detriment of the more vulnerable families and residents who Wellington Shire do not appear to care about.

Di Best

President, Sale Food Support Inc

 

Voice will make a difference 

THE Salvation Army is one of the biggest providers of social services in Australia.

We are a pragmatic movement, not really into empty gestures or performative virtue signalling.

I don’t think in our 140-year history in Australia that we have ever been called “elites”. But we do support the Voice.

We support the Voice, simply, because we believe it will make a difference.

For 140 years, the Salvos have rolled up their sleeves and helped where we can. We started small by assisting discharged prisoners at the prison gates in Melbourne and now we provide more than 2000 services across every state and territory in Australia.

We support people experiencing homelessness, family and domestic violence, financial hardship, unemployment, substance use disorders, social isolation and loneliness, and help them recover from natural disasters.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are over-represented in almost every service we deliver – and that’s why we support a Voice.

There is no escaping the fact that what we are doing right now, as a nation, is not working.

The Salvos will always do what we can on the ground, but the issues we see are deeper; they are structural and systemic.

We believe the only way to practically address the hardship experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is to change how the government makes and carries out policy.

We believe the best way to do that is to actually listen to the people affected – to give them a voice.

Not everyone agrees with us on this and that’s okay. We just ask that people respectfully consider, before they decide on October 14: “Will the Voice make a difference for people who really need help?”

We think the answer is a resounding yes.

Captain Stuart Glover

The Salvation Army Australia

 

Don’t be afraid to ask

UNFORTUNATELY, there are very few people who can say that they have not been impacted by depression or anxiety in some way.

Whether it be yourself, a family member, a colleague, or a friend, we all know someone who has needed support in one way or another at some stage.

September 14 was R U OK? Day right across Australia and served as a reminder that a simple conversation can save lives.

This year’s theme is “I’m here to hear” and reminds us to pay attention and listen to those around us.

I encourage all Gippslanders to take the time to reach out to those around them and ask, R U OK?

For more information, or for advice on how to start the conversation, visit www.ruok.org.au.

Please always remember that it is not weak to speak.

Those seeking someone to talk to can seek 24/7 crisis support by calling Lifeline Gippsland on

13 11 14.

Danny O’Brien MP

Member for Gippsland South