Letters to the editor | December 4, 2017

FUN IN THE SUN: Sarah Janetzki, 13, at a Horsham Aquatic Centre pool party last month. Picture: ERIN WITMITZ
FUN IN THE SUN: Sarah Janetzki, 13, at a Horsham Aquatic Centre pool party last month. Picture: ERIN WITMITZ

Call for program to stay

I WRITE as a previous director of Palm Lodge Alcohol and Drug Centre that was taken over by Grampians Community Health in the early 2000s.

Palm Lodge had established both assessment and education programs in the late 1980s as legislation made this mandatory for convicted drink-drivers.

It is with great dismay that I discover this service has ceased and local residents must go to Ballarat to receive assessment and education. The alcohol-associated harm that is caused to the community is well documented – most notably family violence, road trauma and medical costs.

Hence, I call on Grampians Community Health to reverse this decision as this area of community health lies directly in your mandate. If you are not prepared to provide this service please remove it from your website.

This has been a service used by people throughout the Wimmera and beyond to address an important alcohol issue and to cease provision is an extremely backward step in the area of community health.

Mike Coffey, Horsham

Editor’s note: Grampians Community Health has confirmed the drug-drive assessment program is continuing but the drink-drive component of their service is on hold while the organisation reviews its business model. 

Hospital wait times

IT WAS in the news again last week – a very long average waiting time in emergency departments in Australian hospitals. 

I had a kidney stone attack the weekend before last. I was groaning with a fair bit of pain. My wife took me to emergency at the Wimmera Base Hospital. 

My experience was that I was dealt with and treated efficiently and very reasonably promptly given it appeared that the emergency department was busy enough. 

The young doctors and everyone else involved from my arrival, being admitted, being assessed and being treated were great. No complaints from me at all – just appreciation and praise.

I thought I must have had a rock, but alas, I am informed a scan shows it is only a small stone.

John Adlington, Riverside

Celebrating the show

ON BEHALF of the Horsham Ag Society, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to all the sponsors, volunteers and supporters of the Horsham Show and of our organisation as a whole. 

Results of our show were varied in terms of competitions and for a change it didn't rain. Attendance was better than last year and our sponsors increased in number and generosity, which was amazing. Some changes worked and others didn’t, but overall we were pleased with the outcome.

As an agricultural society, we've had some high-achieving councillors under the age of 25, make it to national competitions this year. Mathew Hill, our chief sheep steward, who after winning the Victorian state champion of meat sheep judging in 2016 qualified for the national title this year, coming third overall. At only 19, Zack Currie, fleece judge and steward, claimed the Victorian title of senior woolhandler and came third in the Australian championships. More recently, my brother Dustin, shearing steward and former dog high jump competition master of ceremonies, represented the agriculture industry well by winning the Australian Trainee (Apprentice) of the Year through his Certificate IV in Agriculture studies.

Since the show, we’ve opened The Cattle Shed for its first wedding reception, hired Maydale Pavilion for the West Wail Stud ram sale and the Border Leicester Association’s sheep sale, hosted a pop-up restaurant in The Cattle Shed, co-managed the Farm to Fork Night Market, cooked a sausage sizzle at Bunnings and acknowledged National Ag Day.

We also work with various agencies to support programs for the unemployed and young offenders undertaking community service hours. These people make a huge contribution to our organisation, working towards improving our facilities.  

As my term comes to an end in February, I would like to thank our executive assistant, Andrea, and the committee of volunteers for their dedication to the Horsham Ag Society and their mentoring of us younger ones. 

We are a good mix of wisdom and youth

From the farm, I would like to wish you all a merry and safe Christmas as you spend time with family and friends during the festive season. Here’s cheers to 2018 – the year of the 140th Horsham Agricultural Show.

Dalton Cross, president, Horsham Ag Society