Rate rise is wrong
The recent increase in shire rates for a certain category of rate payer is wrong and avoidable.
To increase rates by an average of 25 per cent, whether it be across the board or for a specific group, with individual cases increasing by 90 per cent to 100 per cent is unconscionable and unjust.
No one individual or group whether farmers, shop keepers or residential properties should be subject to such.
Even if the increases applied to every rate payer, they would still be wrong and not of good governance.
This is why the state government introduced a 2.5 per cent limit to rate increases.
If councils have found a loop hole, their actions are against the spirit of the legislation.
There are some associated with local government who claim the fault lies with state legislation which outlines the method of valuations and rate setting.
However, the legislation only applies to the overall average, not individual cases. It is true that state legislation regarding municipal rates is medieval and needs revision.
However, this doesn’t excuse bad decisions. The rules of a sport may be inadequate however they are not an excuse for poor play or loss of a game.
Whilst changing state legislation regarding municipal rates is another topic for another day, the state government would do well to study methods used in England.
These are good and fair. They were even fairer before a previous government modified them several years ago.
In this world, most of us start off our budgets with an estimate of expected income and plan our expenditure accordingly.
Local government seems to start with a wish list first then set the rates accordingly. I was a member of the first elected Northern Grampians Shire Council after amalgamation.
We faced a 20 per cent to 30 per cent deficit due to previous mistakes in accountancy.
As councillors, we met night after night, reducing expenditure with only ourselves as councillors participating and the CEO taking notes on our decisions. No other officers were present.
The target was achieved with moderate deductions across the board. We then held a series of meetings throughout the shire, explaining the situation. I did not hear one complaint.
Jim Anderson, former Northern Grampians Shire councillor
Invest in the ABC
The service of the ABC to rural and regional Australians is next to none, from coverage during natural disasters, to their dedication to agriculture, arts and science, the ABC is a dynamic platform among our media circuit and the National Party has ensured it will not be privatised.
However, I do believe that more should be invested by the ABC into our regions to ensure that rural staff have the resources and capacity to report on the things that affect our regional Australians most.
Like my fellow National Party colleagues, I will support legislation that will ensure the ABC have an obligation to provide coverage to rural and regional Australia as at the moment, this is not a part of the ABC act.
The ABC has the support of millions of Australians and it certainly has the support of myself and the Federal Government.
Andrew Broad, Member for Mallee
Final score correction
I would like to point out an error in the article under the heading of Historic premiership celebrations, Wimmera Mail-Times June 22.
The article states that Horsham United won the grand final by 14 points, which is incorrect. The final score was Horsham United 18.5.113 to Warracknabeal 16.10.106, that being a 7 point win for United. I still have the Mail-Times from Monday, September 19, 1988, which features front and back page stories about the historic win. Phil Bunn was the star that day, booting 10 goals, 3 behinds to steer his team to victory.
Barry Barnett, Life Member Horsham United
Editor’s note: The grand final score is incorrect on the Wimmera Football League’s online list of last premierships, which is where the Mail-Times sourced the result for the story mentioned.
Loss of precious friend
A Canberra man is mourning the loss of a precious friend – a seventeen year old dog named Izzy, who wandered off and was euthanised by the ACT rangers.
The ACT Government's city services directorate advised that Izzy appeared to be in poor health, the contact details found on the microchip were not current, and a number of attempts to contact her guardian had failed.
Anyone who has shared a home with a companion animal will likely understand that lurch in the stomach when you realise that a they’ve wandered off through a door that you thought was shut.
The initial panic is followed by recrimination, and then fear of what might befall your beloved companion. If dog or cats are microchipped, there is hope of finding them, but only if you have updated your contact details on the microchip database.
We are a mobile nation – we regularly move to different streets, towns or states. When you move, you have to notify a lot of organisations – power, phone, post, etc. High on your checklist should be updating your details on the register of microchips.
Log on to petaddress.com.au using your dog or cat’s microchip number, and it will redirect you to the database that lists your contact details.
If you have moved home since you last registered a microchip, check it now. It might save your furry friend’s life.
Desmond Bellamy, PETA Australia