Letters to the editor | February 14, 2018

Community safety vital

IN SEPTEMBER last year I was attacked by a large, unrestrained bull mastiff dog. 

The dog was outside its owners’ house and was unaccompanied.

This was an unprovoked attack and resulted in extensive damage to my right knee, which required major surgery including seven screws and a plate. 

I spent three months in a wheelchair and I have since received ongoing physiotherapy and medical treatment. 

I have not yet returned to work due to my injuries. 

This was an unprovoked attack towards myself and my fox terrier, who received teeth marks in his coat. 

Even though my dog’s skin was broken, the council does not consider this as an attack as I was not bitten. 

A family member reported the incident to a Horsham Rural City Council ranger who met with my family member outside the property of the attack about two-and-a-half hours later. 

The dog was still unrestrained. 

The ranger scanned the dog and found it was not registered with the council and impounded the dog.

The dog was released later that day once the relevant fees were paid. 

The owners of the dog were award of the incident and have chosen not to inquire about my well-being or offer assistance to cover my medical expenses. 

The council is yet to decide whether further action should be taken. 

How can I be injured by an unrestrained and unregistered dog and there are no consequences for the owners? 

What would have happened if I were a mother with small children? 

Having a pet is a privilege and a responsibility that should not be taken lightly.

Pet owners should surely be accountable for the actions and management of their animals. 

This incident has had a significant and lasting adverse impact on myself and my family. 

I feel our local laws should reflect the expectations of its residents to live in a safe community environment which enables us to feel safe as we go about our daily business – like I was when I was walking my dog. 

Wendy Zordan, Horsham

Port proceeds promise

I CONDEMN the revelation that Premier Daniel Andrews has broken another promise to regional Victoria.

The Premier has failed to invest 10 per cent of the $9.7 billion from the lease of the Port of Melbourne into new transport infrastructure projects in regional Victoria.

$723 million should have gone to these projects.

Given agriculture is a huge user of the port, and contributor to its success, this is an ugly revelation. Without the use of the port by farmers and producers, the government would never have realised such a huge sale result for the port lease.

The failure was revealed during questioning of the Secretary of the Department of Treasury and Finance, David Martine, by the Public Accounts and Estimate Committee.

Mr Martine told the committee that $288 million of the port sale profits have gone to “periodic maintenance”.

Prior to the lease deal in 2016, I had strongly advocated for 10 per cent of the proceeds of the port lease be identified for new regional transport infrastructure.

Simon Ramsay, Member for Western Victoria

Look before you lock

THE state government is launching a new campaign to warn parents about the risk of accidentally leaving their child in a car due to short-term memory failure.

The Australian-first campaign is raising awareness about a phenomenon known as fatal distraction.

This can affect any parent or carer experiencing extreme tiredness, stress or a change in routine.

Research shows short-term memories can only hold six to eight items at a time.

Added to stress and exhaustion, this may cause parents to leave their child behind in a car, which can result in serious injury or death.

The Look Before You Lock campaign encourages mums, dads and carers to establish habits that minimise this risk and was developed in response to recommendations of the Victorian Coroner.

I launched the campaign on Tuesday alongside academic Associate Professor Matthew Mundy, who helped develop resources for the campaign. 

Parents are encouraged to always look in the back seat before locking their car so it becomes second nature to them – similar to putting on your seatbelt before driving.

Fact sheets on short-term memory failure and advice on how parents and carers can minimise the risk of fatal distraction have been sent to Maternal and Child Health Services and kindergartens across Victoria.

The government's Look Before You Lock campaign includes radio and online advertising, billboards on buses, social media messages, and a new website with tips on how to create a safer routine.

For more information, visit looklock.vic.gov.au.

Jenny Mikakos, Early Childhood Education Minister


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