Combine safety, heritage
GREAT to see the unfinished business between Aboriginal elders and VicRoads over culturally modified trees was raised in the Ararat Advertiser recently.
Aunty Sandra Onus and a leading archeologist agree these particular trees are significant pieces of Aboriginal architecture right here, alive and in our land today.
According to Dr Heather Builth, the cultural modifications on the tree once known as “the birthing tree” is so well crafted, healthy and well preserved that it is of likely state significance.
There is a raised collar around the opening on this tree. This collar is how a tree reacts to its living bark being cut. Traditional owners got more than one use out of everything. It does not matter if they were shelter trees or eel smoking trees or something else
For the VicRoads Cultural Heritage Management Plan the powers that be asked the trick question, whether the trees had a particular, nearly-impossible-to-prove use for traditional owners as a birthing tree. The trees are culturally significant, one of them around 800 years.
They can be avoided if people know about them and let government know they want the road to avoid them. We can have our safety and heritage trees too.
- Gillian Trebilcock, WOOLNOUGHS RD
Consider the climate
FRIENDS of the Earth say there is a strong climate change dimension to the Victorian Government's budget allocation of $32 million for the East Grampians Pipeline, which is expected to improve water reliability for the region's farms and towns.
Friends of the Earth say the East Grampians Pipeline investment can be seen as a response to climate change:
The Stawell and Ararat region is expected to see hotter and drier conditions as a result of climate change.
When asked about climate change impacts, people in rural and regional Victoria have told us time and again that 'the seasons are changing'.
The community is connecting the dots between climate change and hotter and drier conditions. When will Victorian politicians?
Bureau of Meteorology data released in July 2017 showed Ararat and Stawell experienced record dry conditions in June that year.
At the time, CSIRO and University of Melbourne research fellow Dr Penny Whetton linked the BOM's findings to climate change:
Drier winters in Victoria, such as what Ararat and Stawell experienced in June, are inline with the projected impacts of climate change, says Dr Whetton.
She said the trend is towards drier winters. And we can expect to see more of them without efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. Many farmers will have a tougher time in drier conditions resulting from climate change, she added
Friends of the Earth say the budget process is failing to account for climate change:
While the government has a clear grasp of the dynamics affecting education, health, and infrastructure expenditure, it’s unclear how climate is impacting the budget and what’s allocated towards climate change prevention, adaptation, and disaster response.
Bringing greater transparency to climate change in the budget will allow for its impact on state finances to be understood and tracked over time. If we don’t track the costs of climate change, how can we plan for future impacts? Ratings agency Moody's have warned states and cities that fail to account for climate risk are exposed to credit downgrades.
Friends of the Earth believe a 'climate budget' would modernise the budget process to account for climate change, such as a 'climate impact statement' on government procurement, and see increased investment in actions that cut emissions and prepare the community for climate impacts.
- Leigh Ewbank, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH