Letters to the Editor – May 7 2024

After reading about Wellington Shire Council's draft budget, Sale resident, Hayden Nichol, has written in urging a focus on green waste. Photo: Hayden Nichol

What has happened to community?

WE built the house we live in more than 32 years ago.

Paddocks quickly transformed into estates and grazing cows were replaced by fences and houses. In that time we’ve seen neighbours come and go.

We’ve been spending the past eight months slowly transforming a vintage caravan into a mobile coffee van. We’re working towards council compliance to allow us to trade wherever we are allowed. It’s been in the frontyard and has started many conversations with people passing on their daily walks. Some have admired it and others have asked what we are doing.

It’s been a slow process doing what we can, when we can, but it’s been fun.

However we have been notified of complaints and investigated by Wellington Shire officials for supposedly operating a business in a residential area. Not once, but twice!

It seems that having friends around for coffee, sitting outside at a table and enjoying the autumn weather is no longer allowed and seen as suspicious, unlicensed trading behaviour.

Thankfully the shire officer was incredibly professional while investigating these official complaints and we were able to squash any concerns.

Unfortunately her time was taken up needlessly, our time was spent trying to defend publicly socialising and we’re left shaking our heads and wondering what has happened to our community when people make assumptions?

Yes agreed, this is so much ‘a first world problem’ and this letter in response is perhaps as petty as the unjustified complaints to the shire.

Just maybe we should all start talking to people who share our neighbourhood and get to know them better … you never know, you might be offered a coffee!

Leanne Flaherty



Fortnightly issue

COLLECTION of fortnightly green waste would be appreciated, if made a priority!

I’m still not sure where my $1400 annually is going – Wellington Shire ratepayers are being let down.

Please note other shires have had it for years. Locals such as I need to speak up.

Hayden Nichol



Random act of kindness

AT the supermarket checkout at Woolies in Sale recently, chatting to the lady behind me waiting for the checkout girl to finish scanning my items, the lady came up to me with her phone in hand and said “I will pay for that”.

In the blink of an eye the EFTPOS machine clicked and it was all done.

I was so gobsmacked, all I could say was “thank you”.

I could not believe the kindness and I did not think this sort of kindness happened these days.

May only good happen to her.

Thank you, so grateful.

Colleen Long



Nominate your local Mental Health Champion

AS co-chairs of the Australian Mental Health Prize, we’re reaching out to Australian communities to encourage nominations for the 2024 Prize.

Recent events have underscored the importance of supporting one another during challenging times. It is also imperative that we have responsible conversations that challenge stigma and misinformation surrounding mental health. With almost half of Australians facing mental health challenges in their lifetime, it’s clear that no community is untouched by these issues.

Despite this, mental health funding remains disproportionately low, exacerbating service gaps and leaving marginalised individuals without essential support. The aftermath of COVID-19 has only intensified these challenges, emphasising the interconnectedness of mental health with broader societal issues.

The Australian Mental Health Prize serves as a platform to honour individuals who have made significant contributions to mental health advocacy and service provision.

Nominations for the 2024 prize are open until July 8, with winners announced on September 23. Categories include Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, lived experience, professional, and community hero.

We urge readers to nominate deserving candidates who have shown outstanding dedication to mental health in their communities.

To nominate, visit australianmentalhealthprize.org.au

Together, let’s prioritise mental wellbeing and create more inclusive and supportive societies.

Lucy Brogden AM and Allan Fels AO

Australian Mental Health Prize Advisory Group Co-Chairs


Bye for now

I AM sorry to advise readers I am taking a break from Helga’s Project for Kids due to personal reasons.

I am convenor of the project and I want to thank everyone who has contributed in the past 20 years.

The project has received knitted or crochet squares that have been made up into 5000 blankets, knitted hats, jumpers, etc, for kids in need.

I will be back sometime soon to continue Helga’s Project for Kids.

Brenda Coughlan



High on the agenda

MOST Aussies love the great outdoors. And why shouldn’t we? Our beautiful country offers so many fun and adventurous nature-based pursuits.

In Victoria, our Central Highlands region is a mecca for horse riding, mountain biking, hiking, trail running, four wheel driving, skiing, camping, hunting and more.

The state government wants to hear from all Australians about our favourite forest places and hobbies.

Some folk envision a Great Forest National Park with infrastructure for every outdoor activity. Others have different priorities. We can all have our say on the future of these beautiful places via the Engage Victoria website via engage.vic.gov.au/central-highlands-forests

Amy Hiller



Pub test

THE closure of cherished regional pubs, bars, restaurants, and caf├ęs in Victoria reflects the daunting economic challenges faced by hospitality business owners and their staff.

Rising costs, higher energy costs, increased land tax, soaring rents and mounting WorkCover premiums threaten their survival, including taxes on liquor licences, power hikes, and dwindling revenue threatening businesses’ survival.

Immediate action is crucial to protect these cultural landmarks and support the dedicated family businesses and the employees behind them, ensuring the prosperity of regional Victoria.

These closures are felt in areas such as Premier Jacinta Allan’s home seat of Bendigo, where the Kangaroo Flat Hotel has sadly closed.

Businesses in Beechworth, Geelong and Maldon have suffered a similar fate.

Labor’s huge debt because of their financial mismanagement has led to higher taxes, now forcing many of our favourite hospitality venues to sadly close.

But it doesn’t stop there. The Labor government’s restriction on gas supply has pushed prices up and now they’re proposing to ban new gas connections, forcing restaurants to use more expensive options to cook and heat their venues.

Under a Liberals and Nationals Government, we will not ban gas.

Labor can’t manage money and Victorians are paying the price.

Peter Walsh

Leader of The Nationals