Council has critical role

I write regarding Lyn Hartland’s question as to why the City of Greater Bendigo is not a National Disability Insurance Scheme provider (Letter to the editor, January 19, 2018).
Ms Hartland noted she was a client of the city’s Planned Activity Group and enjoyed the service before she transitioned to the NDIS.
The city’s Planned Activity Group does not provide services to NDIS clients and people eligible for NDIS services in the Greater Bendigo area are in the process of transferring to NDIS providers.
We understand that this transition can be difficult for people who have relationships with others in activity groups and staff have worked with clients to assist with this transition. We acknowledge that change can be difficult and we wish Ms Hartland well for the future.
Council voted in March last year not to become an NDIS provider. There were a range of reasons for this, including the growing number of disability service providers across the region that had the ability to deliver these services flexibly and at a lower cost to the community.
A majority of Victorian councils have decided not to deliver the service and no council in the Loddon-Mallee area is an NDIS provider.
Council has a critical role in continuing to make Greater Bendigo a more inclusive and accessible community and advocating for older residents and those with a disability, hence council agreed it was better placed to work with other agencies to help city clients transition to the NDIS rather than be a provider.

Chris Kelly, Manager Community Wellbeing, COGB


Snag in the policy
Interesting attempt to politely diminish the Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children (GADRC) was made by Eric Lakey, Bendigo Weekly, January 25.
But his letter entirely misses the point of GADRC’s concern about children in detention.
There are still more than 150 children trapped in Australia’s immigration system on Nauru, plus other children living in community detention here in Australia, despite the Government’s dishonest claim that there are no children in detention.
Most of us have heard: “the standard you walk past, is the standard you accept”.
GADRC cannot and will not accept that the Australian government speaks for them when it detains innocent children.
Some children, who were born in Australian detention, have now reached school age, without ever having known freedom.
Regarding government policy, one hopes that in a democratic Australia, flawed government decisions can still be amended.
I assume that Mr Lakey merely feels helpless to change the situation, and does not condone the many years of detention of these innocent children.
Frankly, I cannot understand how any freedom-loving Aussie can not be putting pressure on the government to free these children.

Jan Govett,


For the good of the country

Di O’Neil wrote a thoughtful letter “Be aware of our privilege”, Bendigo Weekly, September 1, and I quote “think about people and their right to respect” because I think Eric Lakey’s letter of January 25 was both patronising and a denigration of her.
He dismisses her right to action as “flawed” when all he presents himself are generalisations without basis.
Young Australian of the Year (2018) Sam Kerr in her acceptance speech said her focus was “equality”.
Last year’s gender plebiscite was about equality and the long sought for justice for our first peoples, is also about equality.
“Uluru Statement from the Heart” was released May 25, 2017 and was a simple statement of fact that all Australians should read.
As usual our PM and his government equivocated for six months till October 26, when they rejected requests made because “the Australian people are not ready for this.” But no plebiscite on this one.
Last Friday 50,000 Australians marched in Melbourne against invasion day celebrations being on the January 26. This is not going away, it was the biggest demonstration since Vietnam.
Australia Day was not formerly celebrated till 1994, yet the first mourning march by Aborigines against celebrating the January 26 date, occurred in Sydney in 1938.
Contrary to what Mr Lakey might say the majority of Aboriginal people are against Australia Day being on January 26 and I believe for Aboriginal psycho-social wellbeing that if we could accept the truth, acknowledge it, and change the date it would be for the good of the country.

Ray Wilson,
Kangaroo Flat


Missed opportunity

Visiting from Melbourne this weekend, I was surprised to see valuable front page and page two space given to the exclusive “Witch Hunt”, Bendigo Weekly, January 25.
I understand that this is in the context of the larger CFA discussion. It appears from the reporting of his views about how he had been mistreated, that the paper agrees with the former captain about there being a link between his inappropriate behaviour towards his victim and him being made a scapegoat.
This would have been a perfect opportunity to use the views as illustrations for how perpetrators of violence in positions of any kind of position of power are wrong to see themselves as blameless.
Hats off to all the people and organisations in Greater Bendigo who provide education about how this thinking and behaviour – individually and collectively – is harmful to whole communities.

Anita Tyson,


True patriots

While January 26 has only been a national public holiday since 1994, the date has been recognised synonymously as Australia Day and Invasion Day nationally since 1935.
Celebrating Australia Day on January 26 has always been divisive. For most of my life I have been aware that there are a significant number of Australians who mourn rather than celebrate on January 26.
They mourn dispossession and genocide. They mourn the deliberate, systematic destruction of culture and language. They mourn the stolen generations, whose pain and suffering continues to reverberate throughout families and communities to this day.
Celebrating Australia Day on January 26, the date in 1788 of the arrival of the first fleet and the raising of the British flag at Sydney Cove (called Warrang by the original Eora people) for the first time, has always been controversial to many Australians who are challenged by the brutal facts of our colonial, imperialist history.
I am, therefore, sorely disappointed by Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters’ dismissive and facetious response to the Greens proposal to begin a serious, respectful national conversation around changing the date of our national day to one which all Australians can happily and fully celebrate.
I look forward to the day when the ALP belatedly recognises that a proposal to change the date on which we celebrate Australia Day is a chance to set to rights a long overdue issue of social injustice and an egregious white-washing of our history.
Those of us who support a change of date for Australia Day are proud Australians, and proudly patriotic
in the true sense that a patriot is proud of his or her country for what it does.
The nationalist, however, is proud of his or her country no matter what it does. Surely we’d all rather be true patriots than mindless nationalists?

Michelle Goldsmith,


Insult to country Victoria

Frankly, I was a little underwhelmed by a recent gesture of the state government towards country Victoria, Bendigo Weekly, January 25.
The minister for sport poses with Bendigo West Maree Edwards, the Mayor and CEO of the City of Greater Bendigo to hand over a small grant towards a sporting complex which the ratepayers have all but covered.
$100,000 is chicken feed compared to the billions spent in metropolitan and suburban Melbourne on various wasteful projects, or non-projects such as the East West link.
What an insult to country Victoria, when our roads are desperately in need of maintenance, unemployment is a huge problem, and the trains still don’t run on time – to name just a few.

Helen Leach,