FARMING plays a huge role in the Gippsland economy, and is an essential part of our local communities – but it also presents dangers every day.

The theme for this year’s National Farm Safety Week, which will be acknowledged July 18 to 22, is ‘Recipe for Averting Disaster’.

Farmsafe Australia will be heading a national campaign to raise awareness of the risks and hazards experienced on farms, including fatigue, complacency and the often blurred line between the home and work environment.

For many of us, our farms are our homes, and it is important to keep our families, as well as workers safe. Alarmingly, the 2021 Safer Farms Report showed that 13.8 per cent of on-farm fatalities that occurred in 2020 were children under the age of 15.

The 2022 Safer Farms Report that will be released during Farm Safety Week will give a snapshot of on-farm accidents that occurred throughout 2021, and discuss methods to avoid future accidents.

I encourage all Gippsland farmers, both owners and employees, to take the time to read the Safer Farms Report, and use this week as an opportunity to review the safety practices of their workplace.

Let’s keep our farms – and homes – safe places to be and work.

Danny O’Brien MP, State Member for Gippsland South

Questions raised over keynote speaker

IT is always good to see rural towns experimenting with ways to create new events to attract public interest and tourism from afar.

One example of this is the recent StoryFest held in Yarram, a writer’s festival to promote interest in writing and literature to the public.

But on behalf of all decent citizens, I must say that I was shocked and appalled to see the left-wing extremist Clementine Ford invited to our region as the keynote speaker at StoryFest.

For those who don’t know, Clementine Ford has a history of nasty bigotry and abuse to her name.

During the pandemic she complained that “COVID isn’t killing men fast enough” and has previously posted Tweets such as “kill all men” and “all men must die”.

That is just the tip of the iceberg, as Ford has also previously racially vilified journalist Rita Panahi, who was born in Iran.

To the organisers of StoryFest, I would like to ask this question: Do you support bigoted misandrist abuse towards men?

If, hopefully, the answer is no, why did you invite the hateful and foul-mouthed Ford to be your keynote speaker?

It totally undermines the credibility of holding a literary festival in Yarram.

Rachel Southwell, Traralgon

Where is justice?

ON Saturday, we heard the news that US president Joe Biden has signed an executive order aimed at “safeguarding abortion rights”.

He derided the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Roe vs Wade judgement as “extreme” and “totally wrong-headed” and said that it wasn’t a constitutional judgement but “an exercise in raw political power.”

How can it be that any president of any country can, on his own whim, overturn a just and truthful verdict of the Supreme Court?

Where is the stability of a legal system that can be overturned at the stroke of a pen by one individual who seeks political popularity by doing so?

America is supposed to be the ‘land of the free’, so isn’t this executive order also an exercise in raw political power?

It is certainly not one for human rights, since it acts against the most defenceless and voiceless Americans, and condemns further millions of unborn Americans to death.

Joe Biden urged American women to turn out in record numbers “to reclaim the rights that have been taken from them by the court,” whilst completely ignoring the rights that were returned to the voiceless and helpless unborn by that same court, when they wiped out the legal justification of abortion on demand.

Sounds like a dictatorship.

Brenda Bowden, Sale

Time to prepare for Commonwealth Games

A BOOST to the regional tourism economy is just one of a swag of benefits for country Victorians ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2026.

With the date now set for a March 17 opening ceremony, we must not waste any time planning the work that must be done to make sure our rural and regional towns are ready for an influx of tens of thousands of tourists, athletes and support staff.

The Gippsland region, Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong have already been announced as host cities, while other regional locations like Mildura, Shepparton and Wodonga are crying out to be brought into the fold.

But while regional Victoria continues to suffer from inequality in allocation of government funding for new infrastructure and severe worker shortages across the healthcare workforce, upgrades to sporting infrastructure will be just part of the planning puzzle.

Regional Victoria deserves our fair share.

More visitors will mean more demand on our country roads, public transport, health services and our small businesses, which is why planning to host the 2026 Games must take into account necessary upgrades to hospitals and transport infrastructure.

Only The Nationals in government will invest to build new hospitals at Mildura, Warragul and Melton – with more announcements still to come – as part of our plan to fix the health care crisis in Victoria.

We’ll also deliver the nation’s first Regional Infrastructure Guarantee that 25 per cent of new government spending on infrastructure will go into regional Victoria. This includes for those works that will be needed to prepare our communities for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

Peter Walsh, Leader of The Nationals

A need to fight climate change

THE Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations responsible for advancing knowledge on human induced climate change.

The wide embracing scope of the IPCC can only be described as being ultra-impressive.

The IPCC functions as a panel of 195 member countries who all meet at least once per year.

To develop its last climate change Assessment Report the IPCC appointed more than 700 experts from 90 countries to work on the project.

Australia was well represented with 40 Australian experts invited to participate.

As a specialist climate change organisation, the IPCC deserves much respect.

As I read it, the most important messages coming to Australia from the IPCC, for some time now, relate to the lack of urgency by Australia in countering climate change and the terrible environmental consequences that could result from continuing such a frustrating go-slow approach.

It is indeed a great relief that our recently elected federal government is heralding a much stronger and urgent approach to fighting climate change.