Letters to the editor

Road safety concerns

I NOTICED that we now have signs indicating there are deer out past Ararat, headed towards Ballarat.

Whether they are being released for sporting shooters, or they have escaped from deer farms – I don’t really care.

The fact remains that not only do we have to combat the dreaded roo, now we have to play Russian roulette with deer.

One of my family members frequently travels to Ballarat and Melbourne and unfortunately encountered one of the wirey beasts. This caused damage worth $800 to their vehicle.

I ask – can something be done to eradicate this non-Indigenous animal, either by hunting or infact local laws officers or parks and wildlife officers, before someone is killed? 

Peter Kaup, Ararat

Support for our carers

CARERS in Ararat Rural City and Northern Grampians Shire will benefit from Victoria’s first whole-of-government strategy which aims to better recognise the important role of carers and provide additional support over the next four years.

The Victorian Carer Strategy 2018–22 focuses on providing greater access to support groups, financial services and transport, and better identification and help for young carers.

As part of the strategy, the Andrews Government will invest an additional $1.2 million for extra respite, school holiday programs and support for young carers, as well as more support for carers of people with a mental illness.

In 2015, the Australian Unity Wellbeing index found carers have the lowest wellbeing of any large group. They often ignore their own health, and are 40 per cent more likely to have a chronic health condition.

Across Victoria, more than 736,600 carers give their time, effort and love to look after a family member or friend who needs them.

In addition to the significant contribution carers make to their family and their community, the important work they do also provides a $15 billion benefit to the economy every year.

The Victorian Carer Strategy will help give carers more opportunities to be physically and mentally healthy and socially connected, and improve access to education, employment and peer led support programs.

We have many dedicated carers in Ararat Rural City and Northern Grampians Shire and this strategy along with additional funding will help them to remain connected to their community and continue to do the things they love.

Jaala Pulford, Member for Western Victoria

Agriculture a priority

AGRICULTURE drives Victoria’s regional economies, supporting more than 90,000 jobs across our state.

We have an enviable reputation across the world for clean, green, premium food and fibre, but that’s at risk under a state government unwilling to invest in the future of our farmers.

Growing Victoria’s farm and food businesses will create more great jobs in the industry and help grow our regions and decentralise our population.

If elected in November, the Liberal Nationals will invest $40 million in a new program to promote Victorian food and fibre exports in growing international markets. Grow Victoria: Food and Fibre Exports Program will ensure we’re addressing key drivers, including market access and reducing red tape, to help our producers and food manufacturers get their products into the rapidly growing Asian market.

We’ll also support growers to adopt the latest technologies and practices, by funding a new program to give growers the tools they need to get the most out of their business.

And, while Labor has abandoned farmers and land managers fighting the war against weeds and rabbits, we’ll provide an additional $6.88 million over four years for a new taskforce dedicated to strengthening compliance and enforcement of Victorian laws.

The Premier for Melbourne and his city-centric Labor Government have failed to help secure the opportunities that are knocking at our farm gates. A Liberal Nationals Government will deliver a better deal for our farmers and for Regional Victoria.

Peter Walsh, leader, The Nationals

Needs remain significant

MOST don’t know what it is like to sleep out in the cold, to not know where they will get their next meal, to be forced to sleep with their shoes on just so they can make a quick escape if someone comes to harm them.  

Most don’t pay too much attention to those sleeping rough in our cities, towns and communities. But I do.

This week is Homelessness week – a week where we thrust the issue of homelessness into the spotlight for all Australians. 

Everybody needs a home and no one deserves to be left out on the streets.

I started Youth Off The Streets in Kings Cross by feeding the local homeless kids and that was just the beginning, I started to recognise the dire need for something more.  

Now my organisation has many housing options available for young people but homelessness remains a significant issue.

In New South Wales alone, homelessness rates have risen by 27 per cent since 2011, and the numbers aren’t much better in other states and territories. 

We as a country need to stop ignoring homelessness and begin to take positive steps to help Australians in need. 

So much can be done to prevent this issue; we need to give struggling families a boost before homeless becomes an unfortunate reality.  

Father Chris Riley chief executive and founder, Youth Off The Streets