1080 concerns

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, must come clean about the dangers of the use of 1080 poison in agriculture and national parks.
The department cannot continue to ignore the overwhelming amount of evidence from around Australia and overseas that indicate 1080 is an extremely volatile dangerous and cruel substance for all animals; including Australia’s precious wildlife; its farmed animals, companion animals; and indeed a very real danger to humans.
A transparent independent inquiry must be held as a matter of urgency. Reports that 1080 will soon be scattered all over national parks, such as the iconic Grampians, is a cause for extreme alarm for naturalists and animal welfare organisations.
Reports in the media from around the world, especially New Zealand, of livestock suffering agonising deaths due to the use of this substance, is becoming commonplace.
The department cannot ignore these concerns and must understand they are responsible for protecting the environment, management of natural resources, and managing water resources.
As per the DEWLP web page, they are there to “create liveable, inclusive and sustainable communities” so the question has to be asked – are they actually doing that, or are they causing more harm than good?
Only an independent inquiry can answer that question. It is time to take stock and have another look at this whole issue, as more countries join those who have already banned its use.
Glynn Jarrett,
Animal Justice Party – Lead Upper House Candidate for Northern Region


Not the Aussie way

Will a coalition government really try to force migrants to live in regional areas? Inducements and encouragement, sure – but compel them?
It would be an extraordinary contradiction given all the other things most coalition pollies say about migrants.
The cry we hear so often is that migrants must integrate and adopt the Aussie way of life. Forcing someone to live somewhere is the very opposite of this.
The Aussie way of life includes being free to live where you wish, relocate and even be on the move from place to place if you want.
If we deny this Aussie way of life to migrants how can we then expect them to understand and appreciate our ways.
Then again we have incarcerated lawful asylum seekers for long periods before freeing them and demanding they love the Australian way. The contradictions are mind boggling.

David McRae,
Kangaroo Flat


Refrain of the past
The political mantra of the late 70s was decentralisation. The 80s and 90s were the era of political centralisation and extremes of self indulgence and small government with equally small politicians hocking off the assets of the country and state to favoured corporations.
The noughties saw the continuation of hocking of the county’s and state’s assets and the sudden realisation that infrastructure that had not been invested in for 40 years was not coping with the population demands and expansion.
Consequently, the small government with its small politicians still hocked off the states’ assets to pay for the new infrastructure with the refrain of the past political mantra “decentralisation”.

Scott Ramsay,


Gazania threat

Spring is here and in full bloom in Bendigo. This is evidenced by the streets of orange and golden flowers, just about everywhere that you drive in Bendigo you will see the beautiful brightly coloured gazanias (Gazania linearis).
It is an introduced plant to Australia, a garden escapee and an environmental weed.
People started planting them on their nature strips 20 or so years back, probably as a lawn substitute, at the time I myself thought they were very pretty.
These flowers have taken off and spread across the street, down the road around the corner or wherever the wind blows them.
As the flowers die off they spread their seeds that can either blow in the wind or are washed away by heavy rain. You can always see an isolated plant in a gutter or nature strip.
Over time gazanias have proven they are well adapted to Bendigo conditions, and can survive on only rain water.
This is scary as our wildflowers survive in much the same way and if these gazanias make it to the bush, we will see our wildflowers smothered out and no one will have done anything to prevent this.
The City of Greater Bendigo Council knows that gazanias are an environmental weed.
A free publication produced by the City of Greater Bendigo and Bendigo Native Plant Group is a guide to the indigenous plants of Bendigo.
On two pages at the back of the book are two lists of environmental weeds, gazanias are just one of them.
We are asked to report infestations to Council, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning or the North Central Catchment Management Authority.
But do they really need to be told of this infestation on the streets of Bendigo as these people live and work here – are they blind, don’t care or just don’t know their job?
Bendigo council should act, spray the flowers before they seed, let people know they have weeds on their nature strips and ask them to remove them.

M Smith,
Spring Gully


Flat notes after trip

I had to travel to Melbourne for a State Choir practice so I caught a 7.45am train from Bendigo which normally gets me there on time.
The train left on time but when we got to a passing lane we came to a stop for 10 minutes to allow a train from Castlemaine to Bendigo to pass.
The train then resumed its journey with the driver endeavouring to make up lost time until we came to Sunbury.
We then had to crawl through the suburbs behind a metropolitan train to Southern Cross station arriving about 30 minutes late.
Why have we not got the dedicated track as promised from Sunbury to Southern Cross?
On the return journey I went to catch the 3.20pm from platform 4b. We were kept waiting for about 20 minutes before we could board the train because there was a problem with one of the doors.
Just as the train was due to depart it was announced that the passengers in the last three carriages had to transfer to the front three.
You can imagine the chaos. The carriages were packed with people crammed in the aisles, hanging on to whatever they could to stop them from falling over each other.
Those lucky enough to get a seat could not get out nor could the conductor get through. How could this be safe?
If an accident had happened think of the carnage as it would have been impossible for people to get out.
Around about Castlemaine the crowding had eased and at this stage another announcement was made advising passengers going on to Echuca that they would need to leave the train at Bendigo and catch a bus.
Do passengers in rural Victoria have to endure this for much longer? The focus on transport seems to be directed only to the metropolitan areas.
Our local member, the Minister for Transport seems to have forgotten the needs of her own electorate.

June Reid,


How lucky are we?

NO other country has clean coal (as previously advised in parliament by the then future prime minister), nor does any other country export as much coal as does Australia.
Scientists in other countries spend years researching, measuring and then advising their governments about the current and future effects of climate change.
In Australia we have evolved a unique process whereby people of various (mainly non-scientific) backgrounds, elected as members of the coalition government, need only to walk through the doors of our federal parliament for the first time to instantly develop an alternative view as to what the energy future for this country should be, not just in the short term but for generations to come. Truly we are the Lucky Country.

Peter Galvin,