Blinkered vision

Eric Lakey was so embarrassed by the sight of a Bendigo street sleeper during White Night that he felt the need to write to this page about it (Burr under saddle, Bendigo Weekly, September 7).
Mr Lakey says that “no decent person would want to see the disadvantaged in our society sleeping in the streets …”
The word “see” raises important questions. What exactly was the source of Mr Lakey’s shame?
Did it bother him that homeless people actually exist in Bendigo, or was he upset because the so-called “hobo” was a very visible reminder of a problem he would prefer not to confront?
But there are a couple of reasons why Mr Lakey could have saved himself this embarrassment.
Firstly, amid the thousands of visitors who attended White Night, I doubt that any more than a few passers by actually saw this guy.
I am not aware of anyone on the night demanding that he move himself out of visual range, or complaining about his presence to security.
As Mr Lakey noted, some visitors even took photos of him with his blanket and swag.
Was it the guy’s sense that White Night was as much for him as it was for anyone else that Mr Lakey objected to, perhaps?
Yet if nobody was really bothered by him, surely Mr Lakey had no need to be bothered either.
Secondly, homelessness is a sad reality of the current economic state. Whether Mr Lakey likes it or not, it is “indicative of life here in Bendigo” for some people, just as it is elsewhere.
I am sure that many of our visitors would come from towns and cities where people living on the streets is not uncommon.
So if Mr Lakey thought that visitors to our city would find the sight of a person living on the street aesthetically distasteful, I think he could spare himself anxiety on that score, too.
Homelessness is certainly not pretty, but it is what it is, and even those of us fortunate enough not to be experiencing it know what it looks like.
It is not invisible, no matter how hard some of us may try not to see it.

Julie Hopper,


Positive actions

At last the Liberal party acknowledges that the new Bendigo hospital project was pushed for and started by Labor (Bendigo Weekly, August 7, page 3).
They finally acknowledge that if it wasn’t for Labor this project would not have happened.
Your readers may recall that at the November 2006 election Labor promised new junior secondary schools for Bendigo, and also physical master planning for our hospital. The Liberals opposed both initiatives.
While the Liberals opposed we got going building the new schools and planning what we needed in hospital building works.
We moved the ambulance station, creating multiple local stations, as part of clearing the site. Hundreds of millions of dollars were locked in for the hospital in the state budget.
At the time the Liberal-National party Bendigo representative, Damian Drum, declared he “didn’t have his hand up for a new hospital”.
The Liberal party had to be dragged kicking and screaming to eventually agree Bendigo should have a new hospital.
Of course, this pattern is nothing new. Since the start of this century they opposed the massive rail improvements and extra train services, and also the duplication of the Calder highway north of Kyneton – again making commitments to Eastern Melbourne suburbs at the expense of Bendigo.
The new hospital, massive rail improvements and Calder duplication were Labor’s trifecta of big ticket items to get Bendigo moving again.
And while these things have done so much, there’s always even more to do. And I am so determined to keep delivering for Bendigo.

Jacinta Allan MP,
Member for Bendigo East


A goldmine on our doorstep

In 2016 a mining man ventured deep into a small mine in Fosterville, 20 kilometres from Bendigo.
There was a change in the quartz in the newly mined section, unremarkable to others, but not to this mining guru.
That man, Tony Makuch, of Canada’s Kirkland Lake Group, is recognised as one of the world’s greatest explorers and gold mine developers.
When Kirkland bought Fosterville in 2016, it produced 150,000 ounces of gold , but reserves were small and low grade and it was set for closure.
In 2016, Fosterville had just 244,000 ounces in mineral reserves at seven grams a tonne. In the two years that followed Kirkland has mined more than 450,000 ounces at average grades of about 15 grams a tonne.
Kirkland has barely scratched the surface because new reserves are being discovered nearby and it looks like there is a lot more to be found, so the production is set to rise a lot further and so are the grades.
The Bendigo gold rush is back but it is deep underground. It is going to be a massive profit earner as the company steps up exploration, currently running at $50 million a year.
Most Bendigonians would not appreciate the economic benefits this company makes to the local economy. But with a workforce in excess of 500 highly skilled people it is not hard how to imagine how much is pumped into our economy.
Thank you Tony Makuch, the staff and contractors at Fosterville.

Michael McKenzie,


Free speech?

Kat Ritchie’s objection to Babette Francis having a say on anything, typifies exactly the far left’s idea that we can have free speech as long as it’s anti-right.
For Kat Richie to write “She is not transgender. She doesn’t have a say” is as ridiculous as “She’s doesn’t drink. She doesn’t have a say on alcoholism” or “He drives a Holden. He doesn’t have a say on Fords”.
And then to demand that we keep Babette Francis away from our city, is downright dangerous.
Who is Kat Ritchie that she and her ilk get to decide who is allowed into Bendigo?
Sorry Ms Ritchie, but this is still a free country, and Babette Francis is as entitled to drive up the Calder as you are.
There is no passport control at Kangaroo Flat where a person must pass your opinion test before being allowed to proceed on to the CBD.
Not yet, anyway.

Sandra Lacey,
North Bendigo


GovHub in the news

AS I remember, the Independent Review recommended consolidation of the City of Greater Bendigo offices: at the time there was no discussion of government involvement, funding, or renting back the premises.
It certainly came up later, but not at any public level and I certainly never agreed to any such arrangement.
I agree with Max Turner (Opinion, Bendigo Weekly, September 7) – the present council has no right to enter into any discussions, agreement or contract with the state government about this proposed GovHub without consulting the ratepayers and residents, who have a direct interest in the property.
There are too many decisions made in private meetings which leave us, the residents, in the dark.
I also agree with Max that the council, with its Integrated Land Use and Transport policy, should be decentralising government agencies, not the other way around.

Helen Leach,


Secret plan

I must admit that I couldn’t supress a chuckle when reading Max Turner’s and Lindsay Sergeant’s open letter to City of Greater Bendigo councillors.
Yet again council is off with another ill-conceived secret plan that could cost ratepayers well into the future. So many questions – so few answers.
I wonder if the council will waive the need for any parking on this project.

Stuart Symonds,