Letters to the editor

Public holiday feedback

BUSINESS Horsham is an organisational body representing business owners in Horsham and district and is completely independent from Horsham Rural City Council.

In March this year, the council requested a copy of a survey that Business Horsham undertook with 127 members back in 2014 to assist with their decision-making process in reference to the Melbourne Cup public holiday.

The results of that survey indicated that 30 of the 43 responses received supported keeping the public holiday with the Melbourne Cup.

In April this year, the council put out a survey, through survey monkey, asking the public to complete specific questions and comment on their thoughts around how the Melbourne Cup public holiday should be allocated.

We believe more than 200 surveys were completed and Business Horsham is unaware of those results.

The actual decision to allocate the public holiday to the Horsham Cup was made by the seven councillors at that time, not Business Horsham.

We also note that Horsham District Racing Club initially requested a half day rather than a full day public holiday. The end result for the racing club was that they were happy with the attendance this year.

Subsequent to the Horsham Cup Day public holiday, we asked our 172 members, as well as some additional businesses, to provide feedback on how the day went for them.

We received 53 responses that indicated trade was either very poor or well down, with owners opting to work as the penalty rates made it too costly to operate with full staff. Overwhelmingly the responses were against the public holiday continuing for the Horsham Cup.

The major findings from the current survey was that there was total confusion and disruption within businesses, with families, the general public and visitors, as Friday is the busiest trading day for Horsham.

Business Horsham will attend a council briefing to present all of the feedback.

Brian O’Connor, chairman, Business Horsham

Fight for fire services

VICTORIA has a long and proud history of volunteerism within the emergency services.

Unfortunately, in the past three years, the future of our fire services has become uncertain.

A recent parliamentary inquiry confirmed the Andrews Government failed to consult firefighters before introducing flawed legislation in an attempted political fix for the fire services. 

The Liberal and Nationals Coalition raised concerns that the reform was focused on political outcomes rather than community safety. The Coalition want to ensure our policies place community safety at the forefront, and is developed in full consultation with the men and women who have been protecting Victoria for decades.

It is my intention to ensure all firefighters, both career and volunteer, as well as management and community groups have the opportunity to have their say on the future of their fire service.

The Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Brad Battin MP, and I recently met with local CFA brigades and the community to listen to their thoughts on the future fire service delivery model.

I would like to thank all those who took time out of their day to attend and have their say on this important issue.

To have your voice heard and to make a submission please email me at emma.kealy@parliament.vic.gov.au.

I look forward to continuing to work with our local brigades and the community to hear your thoughts about the future of firefighting in Victoria.

Emma Kealy, Member for Lowan

Empowering workers

YOUNG workers and apprentices will be better equipped to stand up for their rights in the workplace with new resources released through a partnership between the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Foundation for Young Australians.

Six new videos available on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s YouTube channel address issues commonly experienced by young workers and provide tips for dealing with workplace concerns.

The Fair Work Ombudsman and the foundation worked together to explore issues facing young people.

These findings, combined with data from the Fair Work Ombudsman, informed the topics covered by the new videos, which are: Busting workplace myths, warning signs for young people in the workplace, how to address being treated unfairly at work, unpaid work, tips for apprentices and trainees, and tips to ensure a smooth transition to a new job.

Standing up for your rights may make you feel uncomfortable but issues can often be sorted out early with the right support and resources. Often we can resolve problems quickly through early intervention before the problem gets to a point where the employment relationship has ended.

A range of specialised resources for young workers is available on the Fair Work Ombudsman website. They include a guide to starting a new job, a guide to starting an apprenticeship and a best practice guide for young workers.

People can also use the Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) for advice about pay, shift, leave and redundancy entitlements.

Employees and employers who have questions or concerns about their workplace rights and obligations can seek assistance through the My Account portal at www.fairwork.gov.au or by calling the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.

Kristen Hannah, acting Fair Work Ombudsman 

This story Letters to the editor first appeared on The Wimmera Mail-Times.