Mount Arapiles future
I have rock climbed all over the world, and when asked in surveys where it is I love the most, my answer is Mt Arapiles. Climbing at Arapiles is a spiritual experience. I have flown or driven from Queensland many times in the last 20 years to climb at the most magical place on earth. I am fervently hoping that traditional land owners and climbers will continue to share the joys of Mt Arapiles.
Susy Goldner, Nudgee Beach, Queensland
I'm a Canadian rock climber and airline pilot living in Hong Kong. I have been to Australia and specifically Arapiles/Grampians many times to climb. My friends and I always stay in local hotels or AirBnB's and eat out regularly. We support the local business and economy (rental cars, groceries, cafes, accommodation, restaurants, etc). I've already chosen to cancel one trip there, and haven't planned any others because of concerns over access. I would love to return to Australia as it is one of my favorite places to climb, but I don't want to risk being denied access or getting a fine for accidentally going in an area I'm not allowed to. Please make it 100 per cent clear for the international climbing community what the status of the access is. And consider the impact to the local economy by banning climbing and preventing people like me coming and spending money in your community. Please come up with a management strategy that respects and protects aboriginal heritage and allows climbing.
Steve Townshend, Hong Kong/Vancouver
I live in Sydney and have invested in the Natimuk area with the understanding that rock climbing will continue. If Parks Victoria don't sort this mess out and allow climbing to continue, investors like myself won't bother with the region. Nobody wants to see damage to the aboriginal heritage but over the top bans on climbing are definitely not the answer.
Luke Weatherstone, Natimuk
Natimuk thrives because of the world class climbing venue at Mount Arapiles. Stop that and the town will struggle to exist.
Janet Burns, Orroroo
I have been a devotee of Outdoor Ed Adventure Ed and Environmental Ed for three decades. I have seen and registered the enormous growth and character development of participants. I have always promulgated the role of participants to be stewards and custodians of the sacred places they spend time in.
I have never seen any evidence of climbers desecrating such places and as dear to my heart are the keen relationships I have with indigenous friends. [We can] find it well within our collective capacity to strike good fellowship and cement a common interest in conserving our land and places of significance, without removing climbers. Let's embrace this opportunity to forge a new model of best practice where the needs of all are best met.
Peter Blackburn, Booleroo Centre
I make a couple of trips from NZ to Natimuk each year, with up to 12 friends, specifically to climb at Mt Arapiles. We support the local pub, mountain shop, cafe, milk bar and facilities in Natimuk and further afield in Horsham and Halls Gap. I certainly wish to be respectful of the cultural heritage of the area and to the traditional owners. I hope that sites of cultural significance can be recorded and protected without requiring blanket bans on climbing immediately nearby - especially because almost all the climbing at Arapiles does not require bolting the rock ("traditional climbing"). Current developments have certainly not gone unnoticed here. I have been dismayed by the stealth and secrecy around the Grampians closures for climbing, attempts to blame climbers for long term damage inflicted by casual tourists, bushwalkers or even Parks Victoria, and I am somewhat mistrustful of Parks Victoria's processes and intentions as a result. Things could have been handled far better. I hope that discussion and consultation will be far more transparent in the case of Arapiles, and that, perhaps, a direct unmediated dialogue between climbers and traditional owners may be possible and beneficial.
Many international climbers like me will be watching the situation closely, wondering whether to book that trip for Easter, spring or further out. Arapiles is an iconic climbing destination and a superb island for flora and fauna that has found a place in our hearts, and calls us back.
John Pitcairn, Te Awamutu, New Zealand
Save the Overland
The Overland is important to our city as people actually do use it to come to Murray Bridge then explore the city. These visitors benefit the city and surrounding areas
Kevin Jackaman, Murray Bridge South
While we in the capital cities are having some of our existing heavy passenger rail lines duplicated by new metro lines, the regional and rural areas are expected to prosper and [bring in] homeowners now and into the future without any passenger rail lines. This gross inequity and short sightedness needs to stop.
Mark Berlage, Cremorne
The Marshall government is NOT ever going to subsidize the Overland because it has vested interest elsewhere. The Marshall government is not interested in preserving our history nor our heritage. The Marshall government is on a destructive path like no other government before it and will ruin the landscape of the South Australian rail network. Once the Overland is gone, it will never be revisited. So disappointing.
Stuart McPhee, Elizabeth Grove
This train gives me the chance to travel all the way from Melbourne to Horsham without changing to a bus at Ararat.
Brian Hawley, Frankston
Nazi flag removal
To the kind people of Beulah, thankyou from the bottom of my heart for the role you played in the removal of that hideous Nazi flag that was unfortunately on display in your town. As a proud Australian and the grandson of an Auschwitz survivor, it is difficult to relay how upset I was when I learnt of the flag flying in your town. Any support of the Nazis is grossly against the moralistic Judeo-Christian values of this great nation and I am relieved to have seen a backlash against this display of fascist ideology.
Dr Daniel Goldman, Caulfield North
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