Protests hold up progress
Yes, a further section of the Western Highway is to be duplicated but, if I were a betting man, I’d wager it will cost much more than the $660 million you cite to provide “a fully dual-lane highway between Melbourne and Adelaide”. (Wimmera Mail Times, June 18)
However, the tail wags the dog as usual. The final sentence of your item states quite clearly, “Aboriginal Victoria determined that VicRoads could proceed with the duplication”.
One becomes more than a little browned off at the way the aboriginal industry can hold up progress as has happened on a previous section of the same project.
If they want respect they won’t get it by simply holding progress at bay over some tree or whatever they claim to have some significance in their culture.
Ron Fischer, Horsham
Farmers voice their views
Farmers you must not let council shift more than half-a-million dollars of rates off the residential sector and add it to the farm sector. Council proposes to give the residential sector a $540,000 rate reduction and expect farmers to pay $646,000 to cover this shortfall.
Once the rate base is increased it remains there. The farm rate base in 2017 was $5.4 million in 2018 it rose to $6.15 million.
Next year our rate base starts at $6.15 million plus whatever the rate increase will be.
Whilst the 2017 residential rate base fell from $11.66 million to $11.1 million in 2018. Farmers please do not let this happen.
This $540,000 was paid by the residential sector in 2017 and those same 9,000 householders would have expected to pay this $540,000 again this year.
They would not have expected to waste $646,000 of farmer’s money to pay their rate reduction.
The 600 farmers in Horsham Rural City Council would see some merit if council said they needed extra rates from the farm sector to fix country roads or bridges etc... but not waste $646,000 funding a rate reduction for the residential sector which they tell me they never expected to have.
We have called a meeting at the Kalkee Football grounds at 5pm on Friday, June 22.
Please come and voice your concern to councillors (all have been invited) present and give support to Cr Grimble’s motion to increase the differential to 30 per cent.
Neville McIntyre, McKenzie Creek
Track works concern
Currently V/Line are proceeding with major sleeper replacement works between Ballarat and Ararat.
Whilst these track maintenance works are welcomed, the replacement sleepers being used are broad gauge only concrete sleepers, whereas gauge convertible concrete sleepers should be used so that the future operation of standard gauge passenger services West of Ararat can be realized at an early date.
By using broad gauge only sleepers in the current maintenance works it makes the future extension of V/Line passenger services to both Horsham and Hamilton in future more difficult and costly to achieve.
The communities between Ararat and Horsham, and Ararat and Hamilton should be aware that the failure to use gauge convertible concrete sleepers in the current trackworks between Ballarat and Ararat will make it harder to return passenger services to both centres and also push out further the timeline in which those objectives could be achieved.
The Minister for Transport needs to halt immediately the current trackworks and direct V/Line to use either wooden sleepers or gauge convertible concrete sleepers between Ballarat and Ararat.
It is inevitable that ultimately the whole country network will be standardized, and as such all future sleeper renewals in country Victoria should be with gauge convertible sleepers.
David Hardy, Geelong