A unified council

Having read your front page article by Sharon Kemp, Bendigo Weekly, November 23 re mayoral election, I felt compelled to write as a first time correspondent.
It appears from this outsider’s view, that of a long term resident and rate payer, that this current council’s composition is providing Bendigo and surrounds with good, solid governance.
However, the events of the election of the mayor for the third year in the four year council term seem to mirror a little of the happenings in Canberra, a direct contradiction to Cr O’Rourke’s statement at the conclusion of that article.
I believe that a systematic, sensible rotation of our civic leader and deputy can only lead to a more varied and encompassing outcome over the four year period, with each leader championing key aspects of their vision for the region while in their times as mayor or deputy.
From this point of view, given an even vote after Cr Flack correctly excused himself (good to see someone able to identify a conflict of interest in this modern administrative era), that Cr O’Rourke should have “read the play” and allowed Cr Metcalf a shot at mayor in this third year.
Cr O’Rourke should have been happy and satisfied with her two years at the helm, keen and refreshed to work within the group to continue to promote and improve Bendigo, under Cr Metcalf and her identified priorities.
I sincerely hope the council remains unified (a characteristic we have not been familiar with in the recent past), while also hoping that the Canberra “leadership for leadership’s sake” phenomena does not take root here in local government.

Peter Power,
Flora Hill

 

Greedy voters

And so the world turns and yet another state election bites the dust.
I was born in Australia and have lived here all my life. I love my country and I love Victoria, where I was born and raised. I also love Bendigo, my hometown
The will of the people has been made amply clear, and I respect that.
However, in my personal opinion, it appears to me that a large number of voters were just plain greedy.
They voted for the party that traditionally throws money around like confetti at a wedding.
I believe the modern Australian voter simply asks: what’s in it for me? Instead of looking at the bigger picture.
I propound that we will now face another four years of Labor’s bizarre, radical and inherently dangerous social engineering.
Anyhow, the die is cast, but it does bring to mind the words of Joseph de Maistre, which have, appropriately, never been more apt – “In a democracy, people get the government they deserve.”

Eric Lakey,
Bendigo

 

Invite missing

In response to Margaret Hogan’s letter, my late father Kevin Simms snr was one of the four soldiers featured in the Kapyong battle diorama, out of the four, two were still alive at the time, dad and Ray Parry.
My father found out about the official opening in Canberra when his sister (who lives and works in Canberra) phoned him to ask if he was going to the unveiling of the work as Ray Parry was invited.
Dad’s failure to get an invite was an oversight apparently, but he was told if he could make his way at his own expense he would be welcome (at the time he had been quite unwell) so dad missed out, but a large group of important officials managed to go with all expenses paid.

Kevin Simms,
Bendigo

 

WtE a viable option

How should the community view the approval of a waste-to-energy (WtE) plant in the Latrobe Valley? On what basis should it be assessed?
An independent, professional study conducted by SKM, and commissioned by EcoRecycle Victoria in 2003 used a triple-bottom line method, namely the economic (projected to 2015), environmental and social impacts to evaluate 16 waste disposal options for Victoria, including WtE.
The outcome showed that recycling and composting, coupled with combustion of the residue for power generation was superior to all others on economic and environmental grounds, but last on the social scale.
In summary, objective, measurable indicators identified the technique as the best, but public opinion was strongly negative, which reveals a widespread, profound, and self-indulgent ignorance.
No-one proposes WtE as the ultimate solution to our waste management needs, but in the face of current dithering, the lack of a viable alternative and the rising cost of polluting landfill, it is the best available solution. The successful operation of over 1600 units worldwide confirms this conclusion.
In Australia, rationality is abandoned when this topic is considered: whereas wishful thinking and ill-informed opinion dominate the discussion.

Brian Stanmore,
Junortoun

 

Commitment disparity

With the state election now behind us, and Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards basking in the their re-elections and that of the Labor government, it is appropriate to reflect on the disparity of commitments by the government to Bendigo compared to Ballarat over the next four years.
The major commitments were as follows:
Bendigo: $152 million for new law courts, $60m for a new rehabilitation unit at Bendigo Hospital, new railway stations at Huntly, Goornong and Raywood and the investigation and design of the possible restoration of dual rail lines between Kyneton and Bendigo.
Ballarat: $400 million for disadvantaged housing, funding of their new government hub, $14m for a new car park that will provide 1000 free parking spaces, to save the City of Ballarat from raising rates. As well as relocation of VicRoads to Ballarat, upgrading of Ballarat train line and provision of new fast trains.
By any measure, the difference in commitments is palpable.
Little wonder that Ballarat’s population has now apparently passed that of Bendigo.
This great city deserves better from the government and our elected representatives.

David Heywood,
Bendigo

 

Concerns expressed

Matthew Guy’s message for his campaign was “law and order”, unfortunately for him and fortunately for us we saw the police get the upper hand in dealing with the Bourke Street incident and then saw three people put behind bars for their terror plot, just prior to the election.
The Labor advertisement that portrayed Matthew Guy as the fund-cutting person behind previous Liberal governments was also effective, in line with federal Liberal policies in the past few years.
In contrast, Daniel Andrews showed us that he can get things done by building many railway crossing bypasses and is an approachable premier. I do have concerns though:
1. Is the Labor government overcommitting itself to run three mega-infrastructure projects concurrently?
Considering stamp duty accounts for 30 per cent of the state budget and the housing market is cooling down.
Is he going to put us at risk paying debt for years to come, even though the majority of the fund will be from the private sector?
2. He promised to build a $5 million food crisis centre for Ballarat and Morwell, is he aware that $10m can set up the food centres for entire state?
I urge him and relevant MPs to reconsider the proposals, not to overcommit the state and spend the funds fairly and wisely.

Ann Tang,
North Bendigo

 

Democracy?

THE current election in Victoria was like all other Australian elections – undemocratic.
The results of the primary vote were Labor 42 per cent, Liberal 30 per cent, Nationals four per cent, Greens 10 per cent, others 14 per cent.
A primary vote is when you put 1 in the box of the candidate you want to vote for.
You are then “forced” to put in preferences ie 2,3,4,5 etc or your vote will be invalid and quite often your vote will end up with a candidate you don’t like.
Our system is similar to communism and dictatorships because of this.
Once again only 42 per cent of people placed Labor first.
In a true democracy 50 per cent wins an election.
The voters of Victoria clearly showed they did not want a Labor or Liberal coalition government with complete power in the legislative assembly: ie lower house.
Change the voting system to true democracy with a percentage for primary votes only: ie you only fill in one box when you vote.

Michael Belardinelli,
Bendigo