Letters to the editor | April 21, 2017

NATURAL BEAUTY: The view from the summit of Mt Arapiles at the weekend, looking towards Horsham and the Grampians. Picture: JESSICA GRIMBLE
NATURAL BEAUTY: The view from the summit of Mt Arapiles at the weekend, looking towards Horsham and the Grampians. Picture: JESSICA GRIMBLE

Fond memories of school 

AS A very proud former student of the Horsham Technical School from 1960 to 1964, I believe it’s time to build another. 

I never missed a day at school in four years. I loved it. The training was wonderful. We had many top teachers and our students stayed in Horsham. We had many students that became farmers, teachers and tradespeople that are still here today. 

Some of my school friends defended this great nation, whether it was with the RAAF, the Navy or the Army. One was killed in action and another at training in Queensland. 

The Horsham Technical School was the first to go co-educational, which was followed by Ballan Park Tech in 1974, whose ladies auxiliary president was a former student at the Haven Primary School. 

There were many sportsmen that went to the technical school. Terry Hamilton was spotted by a former Geelong player that taught here in Horsham by the name of Gary Hamer, the coach of the Horsham Demons. Terry was the first to play VFL/AFL from Horsham Technical School. He later became a policeman in Geelong. 

So you see, our students had the very best training at the Horsham Technical School.

Even a former Horsham Technical School student became the Western Australian Police Commissioner. 

For Federation University spokesman Matthew Freeman to say there are no plans for Horsham – why? Does he think Ballarat is the end of Victoria? (No plan for Horsham tech school, says state government – Wimmera Mail-Times, April 12). 

We need another technical school in Horsham – not in 25 years time but now. Does Mr Freeman know that Horsham is 20 years behind other cities? We need to catch up to them and be a leader, not the dog’s tail. 

Brian Wilde, Horsham

Grateful for donations

THE Australian Red Cross Blood Service would like to thank donors from Horsham for their generosity when the mobile donor centre visited recently. You gave 528 donations, saving an incredible 1584 lives. Thank you. One in three Australians will need blood or a blood product in their lifetime, but only one in 30 currently donates.  

The mobile donor centre will next visit Horsham from July 17 to August 11.

Please call 13 14 95 to make an appointment or visit www.donateblood.com.au for more information.

Nick Standaar, Australian Red Cross Blood Service

Planned visa changes

THE Victorian Farmers Federation is paving the way for talks with the federal government on workforce reforms after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced plans to scrap the 457 visa stream for temporary skilled workers.

Any discussion over visa changes presents new opportunities to discuss a tailored working visa program to assist agriculture’s workforce needs and industry needs a seat at the table. Everyone is still licking their wounds over the messy negotiations around the backpacker tax last year, and no-one wants to see that scenario played out for a second time.

Prime Minister Turnbull said in a press conference Tuesday that the government planned to introduce two new visa streams that would tighten restrictions on temporary skilled workers, including requiring applicants to have two years’ prior work experience and higher English language skills, as well as be subject to mandatory police history checks.

While the VFF agrees with the broad policy statement outlined by the Prime Minister, the agriculture industry still faces a critical skills shortage that needs to be addressed.

The government needs to think carefully about how the work experience requirement would work under a new scheme. The last thing we want is capable workers being excluded from the scheme because they haven’t worked in similar farm environments.

David Jochinke, VFF president