Kookas ‘dough’ celebrated
ONE of Victoria’s most loved regional businesses, Kookas Country Cookies, is set to expand with important funding being delivered by the state government.
With the expansion, Kookas will relocate within Donald to a larger facility in a win for the Wimmera, jobs and the economy.
The government is supporting the iconic company’s $1.7 million investment through its Regional Jobs Fund.
The grant will contribute to the company’s new site, which will include an extra production line and an area for making gluten free biscuits – creating 11 new full-time jobs, increasing employment to 28 jobs.
The new facility will include an additional amenities block and maintenance shed, and will feature energy saving technology.
Donald has a population of around 1500 and not only is Kooka’s an important employer; it is a key tourism attraction for the town. Kooka’s was established in 1990 and is owned by 15 shareholders, the majority of whom live in Donald.
The government is supporting projects such as Kooka’s Country Cookies through the $500 million Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund, which funds critical infrastructure, creates jobs, investing in communities and supporting new and emerging industries.
Jaala Pulford, Regional Development Minister
Sentence is not enough
PEOPLE in northern Victoria and throughout the country are rightly dismayed at the light sentence handed out in the case of the teenager who put a seven-week-old kitten in a microwave oven.
The kitten suffered massive internal damage but was not euthanised until the next day. The offender was given neither a fine nor a conviction, just six months’ probation.
Under the Victorian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, offences can result in fines of $74,000 or imprisonment for up to two years.
But, despite this, penalties for cases of cruelty to animals are rarely imposed to the full extent of the law.
In this case, the magistrate observed that the act was "horrible" but that the offender “had not understood the impact his behaviour would have on his life and reputation”.
The unimaginable suffering and impact on the kitten was not mentioned.
Numerous studies show that people who harm other animals often move on to harm their fellow humans.
For example, one American study found that animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against humans.
Another study, in Australia, revealed that 100 per cent of sexual homicide offenders examined had a history of animal cruelty.
It’s time that this country started to treat cases of cruelty to animals as the serious crimes that they are, because the whole of society is at risk when we don’t.
If you suspect someone of abusing an animal, report it to authorities right away for the safety of humans and other animals.
Desmond Bellamy, Special Projects Coordinator, PETA Australia
THE Rail Freight Alliance is seeking urgent clarification from Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan on the back of her comments at the Parliamentary Estimates Committee, regarding the progress of the Murray Basin Rail Project.
It is understood that Ms Allan has stated that further stages of the project are now on hold while re-scoping of the works is to be undertaken.
While the Rail Freight Alliance continues to be completely supportive of the Murray Basin Rail Project, it is disappointed by Ms Allan’s comments at the parliamentary estimates committee.
The alliance is not surprised, nor finds the announcement completely unexpected.
The Murray Basin Rail Project has been running behind schedule for several months and rumors have been ripe.
This is such an important project for Victoria that we have to get it right.
Ideally this project would be delivered on budget, on quality and on time. We cannot change where the project is now, but the mature approach is needed to move forward.
The alliance has always maintained that this project must ensure open access to all Victorian ports. It is a game changer for the Victorian Transport System and a vital piece of infrastructure for the state.
What this project now needs is certainty, certainty to business, certainty to primary producers’ and certainty to exporters.
Glenn Milne, chairman, Rail Freight Alliance