Letters to the editor | July 17, 2017

"As much as they can do damage to our crops and are troublesome on our roads, the sight of a Kangaroo is always pointed out with excitement," writes @kazzahoopics on social media.

"As much as they can do damage to our crops and are troublesome on our roads, the sight of a Kangaroo is always pointed out with excitement," writes @kazzahoopics on social media.

Association takes a stand

THE Horsham Amateur Basketball Association has no problem with the building of a leisure centre in Horsham. 

But the direction and decisions being made by the council would mean the end of basketball in Horsham. It would be priced out of existence. 

At present, the basketball association is financially viable and has continued in today’s money millions of dollars to the building, maintenance and upkeep of the basketball stadium. 

We are regarded by the basketball fraternity as one of the best development programs in country Victoria. 

This would all be changed according to the figures estimated by the project control group. The advice from our accountants is that the association would go from being one of the cheapest programs in Victoria to one of the dearest. 

The building of this complex has been estimated at more than $8 million. 

Our governing body for basketball, who are involved in the building of these centres across Victoria, are concerned that the plans presented already would be more like upwards of $14 million. 

Another concern for basketball in Horsham is that our autonomy would be in question if management of the complex is taken over by private enterprise. 

This has the potential to destroy a very successful basketball program. 

The association is not happy with the direction the council is taking at this time. 

We have no other option but to withdraw, as a protest, from any participation in the proposed leisure centre. 

Owen Hughan, president, Horsham Amateur Basketball Association 

No benefits from wind

THE Ararat Wind Farm construction has been of benefit to a number of people – those who have obtain employment and those who receive a levy.

Regrettably, many people have also been disadvantaged – including our neighbours and ourselves, through intolerable noise (agreed spasmodic) and a reduction in land value.

The AWF made two written commitments to our neighbours and ourselves to assist with difficulties incurred:

  1. On February 1, 2016 the AWF in a signed letter committed to undertake Noise Monitoring Data and the provision of such unprocessed data on the completion of monitoring; 
  1. On September 13, 2016 and October 27, 2016 the AWF recommitted to landscape planting of trees on our and adjoining properties, either by tree planting or financial support for such planting.

Neither commitment has been met. AWF has failed to respond to  written requests and telephone messages.

At the same time a number of local Ararat Rural City councillors have continued to lavish praise on AWF.

None of these councillors have provided any assistance to those adversely affected.

Even more significantly, such councillors have continued to extol the financial benefit to the council of the AWF – with 60 per cent of power produced provided to the ACT).

The council having allegedly received such financial benefit from AWF have now decided to raise more funding and  penalise the affected farmers with significant increase in council rates.

John Stewien, Mt Cole Creek

Recognising volunteers

THE state government is urging Victorians to nominate hard-working volunteers from their community for this year’s Victorian Premier’s Volunteer Champions Awards.

The prestigious awards will recognise up to 60 volunteers of different ages and cultural backgrounds, in the categories of Leadership, Impact, Service, and Teamwork.

A category winner will then be announced as the overall Premier's Volunteer of the Year, and will receive the Dame Elizabeth Murdoch Award and a $10,000 government donation to a charity of their choice.

The government allocated $145,000 in the Budget 2017-18 to strengthen and diversify the volunteering sector by researching new ways to promote and recruit volunteers.

Our volunteer sector is worth more than $23 billion to the state economy – a figure expected to increase to $42 billion by 2021.

The Victorian Premier’s Volunteer Champions Awards ceremony will be in December, to coincide with the International Day of the Volunteer. Award nominations close on August 14; to nominate, visit: premiersvolunteerawards.awardsplatform.com/

Jenny Mikakos, Families and Children Minister