Letters to the Editor – October 10 2023

It’s a Walk for Yes!

THE Walk for Yes in Sale on Saturday, September 23 was a wonderful experience.

It was uplifting to feel the goodwill and the passion of 100 people of our local community coming together to show our support for what will be an historic moment of positive change for our country.

There are so many reasons to vote Yes in the coming referendum, but the main one for me is this: The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a direct invitation to me, to you and to every individual Australian citizen, to acknowledge our First Nations people and to unite our country by listening to them.

In listening, we will learn how better to help those communities that are in desperate need, and in addition, it offers us the gift of walking forward together, sharing their extraordinary history and benefitting from their ancient wisdom and knowledge of 60,000 years.

What a generous offer.

Whether we admit it or not, every Australian bears the weight of the knowledge that this country was taken unlawfully, and that the subsequent appalling treatment of First Nations people is a stain on our nation.

I believe if we bring about this change in our Constitution we will, all of us, feel a lifting of that weight, because although we cannot change the past, we can change the future.

Jenny Candy



Kids to miss out on toy library

I AM a parent of the Wellington Toy Library who is being evicted from the Derek Amos Community Hub (the old high school) in Raymond Street Sale.

In relation to your news article in the newspaper dated September 19, 2023, there have been significant developments since your article was written.

I have received an email from the Toy Library Committee saying that they have been advised that the building will be sold to Wellington Shire by mid-2024.

It was said that Wellington Shire Council has asked that the property be sold with no tenants.

This means that they will be out on the street without accommodation to continue the Toy Library that services more than 300 Wellington families and children.

I have two kids who absolutely love going to the Toy Library after school on a Friday or Saturday to return the toys they borrowed and to have a look at borrowing some more for the week or fortnight.

It is obvious that Wellington Shire wants the whole site including the old derelict special school site that has been left to crumble away for the last eight years, but because the building is protected by a heritage listing they (the shire) don’t want to pay to upgrade or renovate this building.

It seems that Wellington Shire want the whole property for the so-called commercial Port of Sale project, they don’t care about the many services in a heritage-listed building that was built in 1908 and is part of Sale’s rich history and ultimately kick us and other groups to the curb and wipe their hands of it, gaining the large financial benefits of the rest of the site.

Naticia Thornton



All about habitat

MANY Victorians feel that a ban on duck hunting will now pave the way for further restrictions on traditional pursuits and access to public land.

Regulated duck hunting is a sustainable practice that has significant social, economic, and environmental benefits for Victoria.

This message was clearly lost on a stacked and biased Upper House Inquiry, which recently recommended the end of native game bird hunting.

The Labor, Greens and Animal Justice Party members on the Select Committee put ideology ahead of science and the positive role that hunters play in restoring waterfowl habitat.

Last year alone, hunter conservationists spent half a million dollars in volunteer hours restoring wetland habitats, erecting nesting structures and pest eradication.

Wetlands such as Connewarre near Geelong and Heart Morass near Sale, have been brought back to life through restoration projects led by local hunters, who should be praised for their dedication.

In fact, the 3200 acres which comprise Heart Morass, once a salt pan worn down by a century of stock grazing, is today a thriving healthy wetland teaming with bird, insect and aquatic life.

If Labor enforces a ban on duck hunting, where is the incentive to volunteer?

This is on par with maintaining a golf course that you’re not allowed to play on.

Dr Brian Hiller, Professor of Wildlife Ecology, sums it up well – It is all about habitat.

“Habitat is key – if you have habitat, you have birds,” Dr Hiller has stated.

This evidence was the key message on the cover of the dissenting minority report I prepared on behalf of The Nationals and Liberals.

If volunteers continue to preserve and revive places like Heart Morass, then ducks will have additional habitat to breed and flourish.

Regulated by the Game Management Authority, with a high degree of compliance, native game bird hunting is practiced in a safe and responsible manner, ideally using the interim adaptive harvest model to guide bag limits.

Ecologist and co-author of the interim harvest model, Professor Richard Kingsford, said that he found little to no impact on bird populations due to hunting.

“We also investigated whether there was any effect of hunting on those species, and we found a very small effect, which was considerably overridden by the loss of habitat.”

Victoria has around 58,000 trained and licenced hunters, including 26,000 duck and quail hunters, who collectively contribute around $356 million and 3138 jobs annually to the Victorian economy, predominantly in regional areas.

A ban on regulated duck hunting would not only ignore the science of waterfowl populations, but it would also completely disregard the traditional pursuits of rural and regional Victorians and the economic stimulus it provides.

The Nationals have in the past and will continue to support law abiding hunters and acknowledge their incredible work as hunter conservationists.

Melina Bath

Member for Eastern Victoria Region


The Voice to resolve overlooked issues

THE forthcoming Voice election is an attempt to adjust our Constitution.

It seems that some university ideologues see the Constitution as a means of resolving Aboriginal issues that get overlooked at present.

These issues tend to be personal and vested at the domestic level but are also seen to have political possibilities.

The constitution is directed at a much broader level. Time was when universities were primarily directed to seeking and understanding God.

Our secular ascendency has had the sorry effect of removing God from our search for Truth.

The quest for a Voice will have some benefit if it reveals the pressing need to review the rampant ideology frustrating this search.

John H. Cooney



Missing Minister

THE Albanese government is putting lives at risk on our local roads because of stalled safety projects and a failure to deliver the funding our communities have been promised.

Halfway through the Albanese government’s term, local council and community groups have no idea if vital road safety and infrastructure projects will ever proceed, thanks to an incompetent Minister.

The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Catherine King has been a huge disappointment for local councils which rely heavily on federal government grants to help fund major projects.

If you see a grader, a bulldozer, or a crane at work on a major public project anywhere in Australia today, you can be sure of one thing – the current Federal Minister had absolutely nothing to do with providing the funding.

Should we be surprised about this failure to deliver any new projects given this year’s budget speech didn’t contain a single mention of the word ‘infrastructure’?

Instead of guaranteeing funding for projects, Minister King announced a 90-day review of the Infrastructure Investment Program but conveniently excluded all Labor election promises from the process.

More than 150 days later, we still haven’t heard the outcomes of the review and communities are waiting to find out whether the funding which was promised, and included in the previous government’s budgets, will ever be delivered.

Nothing is getting cheaper by waiting, and when the Minister finally makes some decisions, there’s no doubt that local council community projects will need to be re-scoped, and less road safety initiatives will be undertaken.

So we are in limbo as Australia experiences a spike in road trauma, and motorists endure pot-holed roads, while the responsible Federal Minister ponders her review.

Darren Chester

Federal Member for Gippsland