Wimmera Mail-Times Letters to the Editor - October 17, 2016

Great Victorian bike ride

HALLS Gap and Stawell will be among dozens of Victorian rural centres to benefit economically thanks to this year’s RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride event.

More than 4000 riders and another 500 support staff are expected to participate in the event. The RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride runs from November 26 to December 4 and is Australia’s largest fully supported cycling event.

It involves riders of all ages, who will travel more than 500 kilometres in nine days.

We know there is a direct positive economic impact on the local economies as the riders spend on average $35 a day.

That equates to around $140,000 a day being spent across Victorian rural economies.

This event also puts some of these tiny communities on the map, as 80 per cent of riders from past events have indicated they would return to a town they had visited on the ride and take at least one person with them.

The event has evolved into a must-do experience for cyclists of all levels and ages.

This year, the ride begins in the spectacular Grampians at Halls Gap, taking riders through to the Great Ocean Road with its extraordinary coastal views, before finishing in Geelong. It has an educational aspect, as well as providing a physical challenge for riders who pedal an average 75 kilometres per riding day.

The RACV Warmest Welcome program is also part of the Great Victorian Bike Ride experience. 

It’s a competition open to schools, clubs and community groups who we encourage to line the route with welcome banners and posters, or any other creative welcome they can think of, to cheer on riders as they pass by.

Those involved in past rides have told us the thing they enjoy most is the community spirit they experience as they travel through country Victoria.

And for the first time in 2016, the ride will welcome electric bikes with charging centres provided at each campsite. 


RACV General Manager Mobility



Anti-Poverty Week

THE St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria is seeking to raise awareness of the many, varied experiences of poverty in regional Victoria and the importance of a co-ordinated community response to the issue to mark Anti-Poverty Week, which runs from October 16 to 22. The purpose of Anti-Poverty Week is to strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship around the world and in Australia and to encourage research, discussion and action.

The society has more than 12,000 volunteers assisting people in need right across the state and in regional areas, the impact of poverty is often felt very differently to those in metropolitan areas. Poverty is described as the state of being without means, resources, essential goods and services that are generally accepted as the standard of living enjoyed by the broader community.

In regional and remote communities, there are often significant extra barriers to accessing these ‘basics’. People living outside our cities generally earn lower incomes have fewer employment opportunities, reduced access to essential services such as health, education and transport and greater vulnerability during natural disasters.

During Anti-Poverty Week, the society is seeking to raise awareness of the resilience of people living in regional and remote communities and their true community spirit in responding to local people in need.

The St Vincent de Paul Society has the largest geographical footprint of any charity in the state and our volunteer members are on the frontline, working with other charities and community groups, to ensure people in regional areas who need help, get help.

We support people to overcome hardships and prevent them becoming isolated, vulnerable and impoverished.

Investing in prevention can help to address the cause of problems and is far more effective and efficient than waiting for a crisis to occur. 

In the 2015-16 financial year, the St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria provided more than $11.6 million of emergency assistance to adults and children across the state and 42 per cent ($4.9 million) of this was delivered outside the greater Melbourne district in regional and remote areas of Victoria.

We are proud to support a community-based response to fighting poverty.

Without the help of our generous volunteers who give their time to take phone calls, make house visits, deliver material aid and deliver meals to people in need, many people in regional areas would experience considerable hardship.

Local charities and community groups are playing an increasingly important role in supporting those whose primary income source is government pensions and allowances to meet the rising costs of living.

The cost of essential items such as food, gas, electricity, water charges, health and education is on the rise.

Coupled with a 52 per cent increase in the cost of rent over the past decade, people are struggling to make ends meet. During Anti-Poverty Week, we want to recognise the work of our volunteers who are so generously giving their time to address this shortfall and stay true to the meaning of community to ‘love thy neighbour’.


CEO, St Vincent de Paul Society 


THE story ‘Ministry Fundraiser’ on page four of the October 14 edition of the Mail-Times incorrectly reported that the Wail East open garden at 2197 Geodetic Road would run on the weekend of October 15 and 16.

The story should have stated the open garden was on October 22 and 23. The Mail-Times apologises for the error.

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