Call for leadership in footy future forecast
IN RELATION to the social media storm created by the most recent Horsham District league article (Titled: Renewed calls for mercy rule after 312-point loss, August 4), I believe most of this was caused by people reading a headline, but not the article itself.
Within, it was clearly stated by the Laharum president that if other alternatives such as divisions were not implemented, then other ideas such as a mercy rule might have to be tried. He was not suggesting we should jump straight to the mercy rule.
Unfortunately, the fact is that leadership in this area has been lacking.
While both leagues have now introduced salary caps and a points system, this alone was never going to be enough to prevent such large margins.
Indeed, an opportunity to balance league numbers was missed four years ago with the dissolution of the Mallee league.
With forward planning, that time could have been used to firstly even numbers between the Horsham District league the Wimmera Football League and then a promotion and relegation system could have been introduced the year after.
This would have given clubs enough time to prepare for the operation of two divisions.
But with that time passed, we need to look to the future - and quickly - so we do not lose any more clubs.
The Wimmera Football League and Wimmera Netball Association need to merge and we need an overarching body governing both leagues. This body must then look to balance the leagues as soon as possible.
Our best players and most successful clubs should be competing against each other, otherwise more clubs will soon cease to exist.
Joshua Shrive, Nhill
Seeking community views
HORSHAM council wants to ensure that the views of the community are heard when it comes to the City to River Plan.
We have heard this ad nauseum but has the number of replies become the focus, instead of the value and quality of the feedback and submissions?
We think the answer is yes and council has used the community's very own school students to skew its results.
Some parents of Horsham Primary School have reported that a presentation was made by Horsham Rural City Council staff to children at the school last week. On the surface not a crime, but not appropriate when parents didn't know, were not asked and may have a completely differing view of the proposal than those presenting.
The most troubling part is that council staff suggested the children in attendance complete the "have your say" questionnaire.
Did our CEO and directors or executive management team authorise this? Did our mayor and elected councillors know and approve this?
Mayor Mark Radford did say at the HRRR Inc public meeting on August 4 that community feedback usually represents about one per cent of our population, and he would like to see that increase to about five per cent. Is this percentage of total population, including children, or a percentage of adults? Is this simply about number of responses? Is this about an embarrassing attempt to gain perceived "support" for council's City to River project?
Certainly, any of the students would struggle to understand the complex issues around community consultation and feedback on such a costly and controversial plan. Is this yet another example of council's lack of integrity and genuine community engagement processes?
As expressed by community members at the public meeting last Sunday, these plans and reports are large and complex and time consuming to work through. Cr Radford was asked: What's the rush?
Further comments expressed that a plan of this size needs to be a six-month process with community involvement.
Community members also expressed concerns that this is the last opportunity for the broader community to have input. Kevin O'Brien, of Horsham council, explained that some groups would be selected for further input during the next stage. However, there was no explanation of how these would be selected and by who. HRRR asked previously - how are key stakeholders selected and by who?; and how are project control groups selected and by who?
These are very important questions which require answers, as outcomes could be determined by those selected. For a council that claims it wants to represent the people - seems like it's only with the answers it wants, and to the questions it's asking.
Many in the community are still working on their submissions and are spending hours reading the background and technical reports and talking to others in the community to complete their submissions. Some already believed that they were wasting their time that this community process is just to tick "community engagement" boxes; others still had some faith in the process and hoped that submissions would be genuinely considered; while others believe this has crossed the line, and have lost confidence in the whole process.
Where to from here? Who knows, but the frustration of community members has reached a new high.
Di Bell, president, Horsham Rural Ratepayers and Residents
Editor's note: Horsham council chief executive Sunil Bhalla has responded with the following statement:
As part of the City to River community engagement we are seeking views from all sections of the community. Over the past six weeks we have delivered a range of activities to take the ideas to the community.
As has been done in the past, council has engaged with schools and will continue to seek input from our young people in the future. We are pleased with the number or people, from all ages, stages and interests engaging in the conversation and having their say. Every single written submission will be reviewed and taken to council for consideration.I would like to emphasise that this is not a voting exercise, but a gathering of feedback, views and ideas to shape our future. The volume of responses may be a factor however weight will be given to feedback that explains why parts of the plan should or shouldn't be changed.
Shining a light on cancer
COMMUNITY hosts are being sought to help support regional events and join the 35,000 Australians across the country who will walk together on the same night for the Leukaemia Foundation's annual Light the Night lantern walk this spring.
Participants carry lanterns in symbolic colours. Gold remembers loved ones lost; white honours those battling the disease, and those who have won the fight; and blue shows support and hope for a cure.
Every day another 35 Australians are diagnosed with a blood cancer - the equivalent to one Aussie every 41 minutes. Blood cancer still claims more lives than breast cancer and melanoma and sadly an Australian loses their life to blood cancer every two hours.
To become a host phone 1800 620 420 or go to www.lightthenight.org.au
Bill Petch, chief executive, Leukaemia Foundation