Letters to the editor | September 15, 2017

Wind farms a winner

MEMBER for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay's rhetorical piece on renewable energy (Titled: More turbines needed, Wimmera Mail-Times, Friday, September 8) must not or should not go unanswered nor questioned.

His festooned piece, replete with adjectives describing the Andrews Government’s push for renewables as “a seething mass of industrial machinery” constructed into a “concrete and steel mecca” and appeasing “ideological, latte-drinking greenies” was frankly over the top and nothing short of ideological spin.

His rhetorical flourish pandering to the coal lobbyists, climate change deniers and skeptics left me with a feeling of despair and disbelief. How did he pen this with a straight face? How can he be so beholden to the fossil fuel industry, and deny his constituents a new stream of income, and in doing so curb our emissions?

The Kiata Wind Farm, which is under construction, has provided not just drought-proofing for my farming neighbours and their family but it has also provided a much required economical boost to Nhill via employment and unexpected and welcome extra income for Nhill businesses – of varied types, including individual contractors, hospitality and accommodation, fuel suppliers, concrete providers, cleaners, supermarket, hardware, banking and more.  

It's also provided income for adjacent landholders via compensation and the ability to invest in the Kiata Wind Farm.

Ramsay's rant, regarding investment in renewables further exposes the Coalition’s prehistoric policies on near anything proactive and progressive.

I wonder: Does Simon view all that steel used in the Eiffel Tower or Sydney Harbour Bridge, the concrete used in the Snowy River Scheme or even the Bolte Bridge as an affront to our visual senses.

As an aside, I visited Ararat at the weekend and wind farms are dotted across the Western Plains. These are wind farms that have brought untold economic activity to Ararat and its surrounds. All locals that I personally spoke to welcomed their construction and considered them as an asset, not a liability.

Given the Nationals decision at their weekend Canberra group think it's obvious that this letter was preemptive of their now stated Coalition policy.

One has to wonder – and ponder – why they are so beholden to last-century energy technology and filthy coal.

I applaud the Andrews Government for taking the much-required proactive lead into our future energy requirements and where that energy will be sourced from.

Regrettably, previous governments privatised our generators, poles and wires – our essential services. Unfortunately consumers now pay for those ghastly quick fix decisions and sell offs. Albeit, not yours truly – I've been “off grid” for 20 years.

Ramsay must surely be hopefully losing some votes due to his totally irresponsible comments and so too should the Federal Nationals for declaring a policy of not subsidising any renewables. Yet, they are most content to subsidise coal to the tune of $11billion – yes, $11billion.

It's obviously time to halt political donations – donations that obviously affect the logic and rationale of our decision makers.

Simon Ramsay, it's not about "feel good green power" – it's about a rational approach to climate change. 

Wind farms are part of our transition into a cleaner world, and in doing so they provide much needed economic activity in our region.

Linda Domaschenz, Kiata

Country road repairs

ROADS are the lifeblood of country communities – that’s why we’re investing more than ever before to our country roads safer and stronger.

Since coming to office, the Andrews Government has doubled spending on road maintenance. In the next 12 months, VicRoads will be doing more pavement work than it has done in decades as part of our $530 million investment to improve regional roads.

In this financial year alone, VicRoads will fix more than 1400 kilometres of roads across the state. We're investing $58 million in resurfacing, asphalting, sealing and shoulder repair at more than 100 locations in Western Victoria – including the Wimmera Highway at Dooen. We’re also building the infrastructure that we know saves lives on rural roads. We’re rolling out more than 1700km of wire rope barriers, upgrading road shoulders and widening centre lines on the state’s most dangerous country roads.

It’s remarkable that the Nationals have the nerve to talk about funding to VicRoads.

The fact is that the VicRoads maintenance budget was $157 million in the last year of the previous Liberal-National government – this year we have allocated $343.2 million.

By dumping the dud East West Link in the city, we've been able to redirect $690 million in funding to regional roads upgrades. It was the right call and one, as Minister, I am proud to stand by. 

The VicRoads’ senior leadership team has spent the last few weeks touring country Victoria, talking to locals about how they can better plan, build, manage and maintain the 19,000 kilometres of country arterial roads.

VicRoads has acknowledged that it can do more to explain how the roads are built, what might cause them to fail, and what it takes to repair them and support a better future.

This work won’t happen overnight, and there is always more that we can do – but we’re backing country Victoria and investing in the roads we need to unlock jobs and investment and protect families.

Victorians deserve roads they can rely on, and this investment will make sure the roads are safer and more reliable than ever before.

Luke Donnellan, Roads Minister

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