Farmers have their say
HORSHAM mayor Pam Clarke continues to criticise the Victorian Farmers Federation and local farmers.
Whether the farmers federation’s head office had a submission on the council’s latest Budget or not, does not matter – local Victorian Farmers Federation members did.
Dadswells Bridge farmer Peter Jackman said in his submission his valuation went up 37 per cent. He asked why and asked for a fairer rates system.
As the local farmers federation voice on rates for the past 12 years, I have put in a submission wanting either a differential increase or apply the state government’s flat 2.25 per cent fair go rate increase equally applied to each sector.
This was promoted by farmers federation president David Jochinke at Kalkee in March.
Council said at that time that they would take it on board as an early submission and then council submitted a working paper to all councillors on the effect of this flat rate.
Council knew I would put this 2.25 per cent flat rate on each sector in my submission to back up the VFFs proposal at Kalkee.
I presented this submission to council on June 6 and was allowed to speak on this, and my concerns of a rate reduction to the residential sector, at length.
I believe local farmers did everything right to have their concerns raised in the community consultation period.
From March, council knew the VFF were proposing an alternate rate structure.
So why the criticism of farmers?
The farmers concerned are all farmers federation members and Council knows I am the VFF member of the saleyards committee and have been the VFF spokesman on rates for many years.
The blame or praise lays directly with the mayor’s casting vote on the Budget – she must wear the responsibility totally for the outcome of her actions.
Neville McIntyre, McKenzie Creek
OUR community group, the Keep Original Route Supporters (KORS) wants to clear up some inaccurate claims about our aims in opposing the Western Highway duplication.
The purpose of the groups is: “To preserve remnant vegetation and habitat by using as much existing road infrastructure as possible.”
We asked environmental consultant, Practical Ecology, to assess the lowest impact route for widening the eastern half of the Buangor to Ararat highway – to carefully renovate the existing road and add a carriageway just to the south, or four new lanes through hills with major earthworks and an extra bridge, as planned by VicRoads further south?
Two road engineers advised this environmental company on a feasible design, satisfying VicRoads’ safety demands. Then Practical Ecology calculated impacts by the rules.
The report included impact on high quality vegetation beside the highway and a rare bush there.
The answer came back in mid-2016 – it would be less harm to add a carriageway in the powerline easement beside the existing highway, mostly on the south.
The state park would not be touched, of course. This route preserves local accesses with minor alterations for safety improvements.
Using the existing highway supports local Indigenous people too, by avoiding a place very significant to them.
The alternative route does much less harm, and can be built much faster. What's not to like?
Rosemary Bates, Keep Original Route Supporters (KORS)
Paying tribute to Bernie
THIS week in Parliament, I spoke in condolence of former Nationals Member for the North Western District Bernie Dunn who sadly lost his battle with cancer on June 15.
Mr Dunn was the Nationals Member for the North Western District for 19 years and was awarded life membership of the Nationals in 2001.
He also received the Order of Australia Medal in the 2007 Queen’s Birthday honours.
He served on the Horsham Rural City Council for eight years, including five years as the mayor.
He was also a long-time member of the Livestock Saleyards Association of Victoria and the Australian Barley Board member for 16 years.
He also helped form the Leukaemia Auxiliary at Royal Children's Hospital in 1973.
Through my speech, I reminisced on our working relationship fondly and my respect for his character and active community life.
Bernie Dunn was very much a gentleman in terms of the way he went about doing all of the sorts of business he was involved with.
He joined the administration of The Nationals and was state president from 1990 to 1995 and it was during this time that I got to know Bernie very well.
Bernie's passions while he was in this chamber were particularly around the areas of agriculture, local government and education.
To the remaining members of Bernie Dunn's family I pass on the condolences of this chamber, from The Nationals and the Liberals – but also very much and very importantly on behalf of those people from the North Western Province whom he represented.
Luke O’Sullivan, Member for Northern Victoria