Letters to the editor | October 16, 2017

SIGHTS: The view of the Wimmera River from the Anzac Centenary Bridge in Horsham. Picture: CARLY WERNER
SIGHTS: The view of the Wimmera River from the Anzac Centenary Bridge in Horsham. Picture: CARLY WERNER

Singing in the shed

I would like to congratulate the Murtoa’s Big Weekend Committee and their teams of volunteers for their outstanding efforts to develop this festival.

I have been a member of Sing Australia in Horsham for 14  years and so my particular interest in this year’s Big Weekend was the singing event in the Murtoa Stick Shed.

This was a wonderful concept. It brought together people who love to sing. It was friendly, inclusive and non-competitive, everything that community singing groups try to encourage.

It is a memorable opportunity for people to experience the mental and social connection that singing with a group can achieve.

For the final performance, singers from areas including Edenhope, Warrnambool, Ballarat, Echuca, Ararat and Stawell combined with two Horsham singing groups (Voices of the Wimmera and Sing Australia Horsham) to present with joy and enthusiasm the songs learnt at the morning workshop.

Thank you to all involved in this initiative.

It shows what cooperation and community is all about.

Frances Macdonald, Horsham

Headspace day

ON MONDAY thousands of Australians across the country generously threw their support behind headspace day, kicking off National Mental Health Week.

Headspace day is an opportunity to educate young people on the importance of taking care of their mental health issues early, before they become more serious.

Every year, a quarter of all young Australians will experience mental health issues and we want them to know that headspace is here to help.

Research shows that 75 per cent of mental health issues emerge before the age of 25. By getting on top of issues early, the chances of recovery are greatly increased.

On headspace day we asked all Australians to share their personal mental health tips, telling us how they take care of their mental health.

We gathered thousands of ideas to show young people the many different ways to maintain a healthy headspace.

It has been inspiring to see so many Australians share on #headspaceday, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition leader Bill Shorten, musicians, sports stars, and our own headspace day ambassador Anna Flanagan.

Our headspace clinicians say talking about how we take care of our mental health can encourage others to do the same.

It is just as important to take care of our minds, as it is our bodies.

Jason Trethowan, headspace chief executive

Population taskforce

ONLY a government with little interest in our country communities would describe massive population growth in Melbourne as a win for regional Victoria.

Most of our state’s new residents move to Melbourne each year, but the state government appears to think this is part of a trend of strong growth in Victoria’s regional centres. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows in just 12 months Greater Melbourne grew by more than 126,000 people while regional Victoria grew by just 20,106.

The ABS data also found 29 of our state’s 32 slowest growing local government areas are in regional Victoria, growing by less than one per cent in the 12 months to 30 June 2016.

This isn’t good enough and the Liberal Nationals understand it’s time to do something different.

With the Liberal Nationals’ Population Policy Taskforce, I have been speaking to our country communities about their ideas to grow our whole state – not just Melbourne.

Only the Liberal Nationals are working on a plan for the future of our whole state.

Danny O’Brien, Victorian Population Policy Taskforce chairman